Washington Update - May 20, 2024

Billy Moore    Dc2

Last week, Congress cleared a five-year $105 billion authorization of aviation programs that President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday. The law is one of the last major bills to be enacted before the November 5 election. 

The House Armed Services Committee will markup the $850 billion 2025 Defense bill this week, hoping to avoid the kind of partisan rancor that will erupt when the House Agriculture Committee marks up a Republican $1.5 trillion Farm Bill that Democrats say underfunds nutrition programs. The Defense bill will probably be finalized after the election and before the end of the year, while the Farm bill seems likely to be put off until 2025.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole, the most able Republican lawmaker in the House, announced a committee markup schedule for the 2025 annual appropriations bills that begins this week and runs into early July. Cole’s plan would comply nominally with the spending caps enacted last year, while shifting funds to increase Defense and Homeland Security spending and reducing funds for the Department of Health and Human Services and State. The plan is Cole’s opening offer and will require future compromises with the White House and Senate. No final spending package is expected before December, when lawmakers will know who the president is, with whom they will have reach a final deal.

President Biden and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive nominees for president, agreed to debate one another June 27 and September 10. The race is tied nationally, leading both to hope for a spark to ignite the campaign for themselves and a slip to undermine their opponent.

The two are likely to agree with President Biden’s tariffs, announced last week, on $18 billion in imports from China. The tariffs will add to U.S. inflation, which eased in April with the smallest increase since April 2021.