Monday, Sep 25, 2023

U.S. Congress aims to pack additional measures into government funding bill

U.S. Congress aims to pack additional measures into government funding bill

The U.S. Congress faces a tricky task this week as lawmakers try to use a $1.7 trillion government funding bill to also address other priorities, including tweaks to election rules, reforms to drug sentencing and a ban on TikTok from government-owned devices.

Democrats and Republicans alike aim to tuck as many legislative wish-list items as possible into the "omnibus" bill funding the government through the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2023, without derailing the whole package.

Failure could bring a partial government shutdown beginning Saturday, two days before Christmas, and possibly lead into a months-long standoff after Republicans take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3, breaking President Joe Biden's Democrats' grip on both chambers of Congress.

"Nobody is going to get everything they want, but the final product will include wins everyone can get behind," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said late Thursday after lawmakers passed a week-long funding bill intended to allow them to finish work on the sprawling omnibus bill.

The full details of that package were being crafted over the weekend, but it will include a record $858 billion for defense -- some $45 billion more than Biden proposed -- additional aid for Ukraine, and funding for agencies ranging from the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Democrats wanted comparable increases in defense and non-defense spending, which Republicans objected to, saying that Biden's party had passed several other domestic spending bills during the last two years when they had full control of Congress.

"Republicans simply were not going to lavish extra-liberal spending" on non-defense programs into the omnibus bill, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.

The Senate's cumbersome rules mean that it could take a few days for the funding bill even to come to a vote, after which the House will need to pass it. The bill will need at least 10 Republican votes to pass the Senate, but can pass the House with just Democratic support before going to Biden for his signature.


Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said she supported using the bill to pass a measure, approved by the Senate last week, to bar federal employees from using the Chinese-owned TikTok video app on government-owned devices.

Pelosi's support, along with that of Representative Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, who aims to succeed her as speaker, significantly boosts the chances the provision will be adopted.

Another add-on to the spending bill appeared certain: Republican and Democratic leaders have agreed to clarify and tighten the way U.S. presidential election winners are certified by Congress. The move is in response to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol by Republican then-President Donald Trump's supporters, who tried to force then-Vice President Mike Pence into ignoring Joe Biden's clear-cut victory -- a power Pence did not have -- and ultimately keeping Trump in the White House.

Lawmakers and their aides spent the weekend gauging how to wedge other special initiatives into this catch-all spending bill. Their alternative is to simply abandon certain efforts for now.

That is exactly what has happened with Democrats' drive to provide citizenship to "Dreamer" immigrants who illegally entered the United States as children.

A bipartisan proposal to protect these youth from deportation while also spending more to keep migrants south of the U.S. border sputtered out last Thursday.

Republicans have been blocking such legislation for decades, arguing that U.S. borders must first be "secured."

A deal tentatively has been reached on a criminal justice matter. A provision could be added to the omnibus to address prison sentencing disparities between illegal use of crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

A decades-old law resulted in far more harsh sentences for Black people using crack, according to civil rights and human rights organizations.

Meanwhile, there were no discernable signs that Democrats were gaining traction on including a renewal of an expired expanded child tax credit. Republicans have balked, largely citing the cost to the government, while pushing for the renewal of some business tax breaks.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown signaled his support for a tax code that bolsters U.S. manufacturing. But he wants it coupled with the enhanced child tax credit.

"What are we here to do in this body, if not to make things just a little bit easier" for struggling families, he said.

The risk with each add-on is that it could cost critical votes needed for passage through the narrowly divided Congress.

McConnell has warned that if an omnibus is not headed toward enactment by Thursday, he would support "pivoting" to a third short-term funding bill that he would want to extend into the new year.

That is an outcome Biden and his fellow Democrats in Congress will work to avoid.


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner