Senate to move spending ‘minibus’ next week in effort to avoid shutdown
Top Senate negotiators announced Wednesday that the chamber will be moving a package of government funding bills next week, as Congress races to avoid a shutdown later this month.
Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) confirmed the “minibus” package will include fiscal 2024 funding for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies.
“We are pleased to announce we are working to move ahead with the first package of appropriations bills on the Senate floor as early as next week,” the two said in a statement.
“This is a critical next step as we continue working collaboratively in the Senate to keep our government funded, find common ground, and deliver for the people back home that we represent,” they added.
To avoid a shutdown at the end of September, Congress will likely need to pass a short-term spending measure known as a continuing resolution or “CR.”
That legislation will need to pass both the Senate and the House, which could be a challenge given various demands from different groups of House Republicans related to the spending. Some Republicans want to secure deep spending cuts to move any government funding measure, while others have called for the launching of an impeachment inquiry against President Biden.
There has been more bipartisanship in the Senate on spending bills, particularly since a summer deal to raise the debt ceiling set spending ceilings for the next fiscal year.
“This summer, we worked with our colleagues in a bipartisan way to draft and pass out of Committee all twelve appropriations bills for the first time in years — and did so with overwhelming bipartisan votes,” Murray and Collins noted in their statement.
Next week’s minibus will be the first appropriations legislation to get a Senate floor vote. Members have already signaled the CR will be necessary to buy time to negotiate a longer-term spending deal.