With just nine days to go before funding runs out for large swaths of the federal government, lawmakers are still having trouble agreeing on how to proceed.
House Republicans had hoped to vote today on a funding bill for Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, known as THUD, but pulled the bill late Tuesday due to disagreements within their caucus, in part over potential cuts for Amtrak. Another spending bill, covering Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), also appeared to be in trouble as of Wednesday afternoon due to a provision touching on abortion.
“If House Republicans have to pull THUD and FSGG in one week, that will be a massive black eye,” Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman wrote. Sherman also said that given the lack of progress in the House, there’s “a better-than-even chance” that the government shuts down at the end of next week.
Over in the Senate, lawmakers sparred over a different spending issue, the emergency spending request for Israel and Ukraine, which includes funds to enhance border security.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that Republicans will not back a massive foreign aid package if it fails to include substantial policy changes on the border with Mexico in addition to money. “Everybody knows how strongly I feel about helping Ukraine — and Israel,” he told reporters. “[But] the border needs to be a part of it if it’s going to clear the Senate.”
Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas rejected that approach. “We need the funding that we are requesting immediately,” he said. “We fully endorse the need for policy changes, not in piecemeal form, but in a comprehensive form.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski argued that some reform is better than no reform as lawmakers wait on a comprehensive package. “We need to make some incremental gains here,” the Alaska Republican said. “I hope you take seriously that we will not be able to get the support that we need for Israel, for Ukraine, for the Indo-Pacific, for the disasters, unless there is true, meaningful border security as part of this supplemental” bill.
But Appropriations Chair Patty Murray reiterated the Democratic stance. “I want to be clear to Republicans who think this is their chance to jam through a huge far-right wish list on immigration,” she said, this “partisan” proposal “is not going to go anywhere.”
The bottom line: The clock is ticking, but lawmakers are no closer to preventing a government shutdown and providing emergency funds for Israel and Ukraine than they were two weeks ago.