Washington Update - August 14, 2023

Billy Moore    Dc2

The path to approving a continuing resolution (CR) to keep government funded past the end of the fiscal year September 30 grew more complicated last week. The need for a CR to prevent a shutdown is almost 100 percent as the House and Senate will be in session together for only 12 days before the deadline. The House has approved only one of the 12 annual spending bills, the Senate has approved none.

Last week, President Joe Biden made the process more difficult by requesting $40 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for Ukraine, disaster relief, fighting the influx of illicit drugs and managing the Southwest border. Historically, similar supplemental spending would be added to the CR. As emergency spending, the funds would not count against budget caps agreed to in May’s deal to raise the debt limit. 

Very conservative congressional Republicans are fighting to cut spending $130 billion below the level set in May. They also oppose additional aid to Ukraine. In addition, 15 Texas House Republicans have written their colleagues urging a vote against any CR that funds the Department of Homeland Security without the removal of the department’s leader and the enactment of House border enforcement legislation. Many House conservatives have also urged a vote against any CR that funds the Department of Justice.

The threats may force House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to revive a bipartisan coalition of moderate Republicans and most Democrats to pass a CR in the House and avoid a shutdown since the legislation demanded by the conservatives probably could not pass the House, much less the Senate.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss as a special counsel in the Hunter Biden inquiry last week, joining current special counsels investigating President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent in July, extending an inflation slowdown.