Lawmakers have struck a much-anticipated deal on a framework for an omnibus package to fund the government for fiscal 2023.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday night said negotiators had “reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President.”
Leahy said he reached the deal with Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
“We have a framework that provides a path forward to enact an omnibus next week,” DeLauro said, adding that the House and Senate Appropriations committees will “work around the clock” to negotiate the final spending bills for 2023.
“The pain of inflation is real, and it is being felt across the federal government and by American families right now. We cannot delay our work any further, and a two-month continuing resolution does not provide any relief,” Leahy said.
Government funding runs out at midnight Friday, and lawmakers must pass a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, this week in order to prevent a shutdown. The House is expected to pass a weeklong stopgap spending bill on Wednesday that would keep the government’s lights on through Dec. 23 to give negotiators and lawmakers enough time to pass the omnibus package. The Senate would advance the bill on its own shortly after.
The omnibus package would set spending through Sept. 30, also known as the end of the fiscal year.
There are still outstanding issues at play. None of the three negotiators indicated what the top-line figure was or any other details of the framework. The main hangup in discussions was the disparity between domestic and defense spending, both of which are expected to get a significant boost from the current spending levels.
The main battle for Republicans is how long the continuing resolution expected to be passed this week should last. House GOP leaders are clamoring for a stopgap proposal to last into January when Republicans hold the majority, giving them more leverage over the funding bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week indicated that might be a possibility given the slow pace of talks between Leahy, Shelby and DeLauro toward a top-line spending bill.
House Republican leaders on Tuesday called on their members to vote against the one-week continuing resolution in a bid to win more control over the process and push matters into the new year.
“This one-week continuing resolution is an attempt to buy additional time for a massive lame-duck spending bill in which House Republicans have had no seat at the negotiating table,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) office said in a whip notice.
Top Senate Republicans earlier on Tuesday had indicated that negotiators had to hurry in order to get a deal that could pass before the Christmas break.
“Soon,” Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters on when a deal was needed in order to wrap things up by the holiday.
Updated at 8:57 p.m.