Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 4

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 4

Shutdown Averted(?)

Lawmakers from both Chambers return to Washington this week after passing another extension of short-term “laddered” government funding to March 8th and 22nd, all before reaching a final agreement on FY24 appropriations for those bills falling under the new March 8th deadline.

Over the weekend, Members released the text of a partial appropriations bill that would fully fund – among others – the Departments of Transportation, Justice, Interior, and Energy through September, thus closing out a prolonged FY24 due to a series of stopgap measures after lawmakers previously failed to reach a full-funding agreement.

If passed, the bill would also include congressionally directed spending, or “earmarks,” providing line-item funding for projects in Members’ districts, such as bridge replacements, law enforcement equipment purchases, and transit expansion.

The bill also omits certain policy “riders” limiting the spending of funds that Members from both parties typically find objectionable. However, the bill would ban sales from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China, as well as monitor foreign purchases of U.S. farmland.

However, an agreement has not yet been reached for the remaining FY24 appropriations bills set to expire on March 22nd. Once that is done, the appropriations cycle will be complete, and Members can proceed to the FY25 cycle.

In addition to appropriations, House lawmakers will also vote on several homeland security and healthcare-related bills under expedited procedures this week, in addition to cybersecurity legislation affecting National Telecommunications and Information Administration operations.

Members will also participate in several committee hearings this week, including the following:

  • The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will hear testimony from transportation grant recipients
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss human rights in housing
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will examine China’s influence on the United Nations
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will discuss healthcare for seniors