In a race against time to keep the government running smoothly, the Senate has taken on its first set of spending bills. With the possibility of a government shutdown looming, it’s crucial for lawmakers to pass these appropriations bills before the September 30th deadline.
The package of three bills, including military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and transportation and Housing and Urban Development, cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate with an 85-12 vote. This positive step allows the Senate to move forward with the voting process on Wednesday.
Democrats are touting this progress as a step in the right direction. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey sees it as a way to not only pass the bills but also secure a continuing resolution to extend government funding during budget negotiations. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland praised the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to fund the federal government. However, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is more cautious, acknowledging that there are still many games to be played.
The Senate is expected to vote on the package on Wednesday.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) September 13, 2023
The pressure is on for lawmakers as the September 30th deadline approaches. If they fail to pass all required appropriations bills, a government shutdown could become a reality. Republicans are looking to secure spending cuts on top of the previously agreed-upon spending cap suspension, setting the stage for another potential showdown.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged House Republicans to follow the Senate’s lead in order to avoid a government shutdown. While leaders in both chambers support passing a short-term continuing resolution, the conservative House Freedom Caucus has made it clear that they will oppose it unless certain concessions from Democrats are included.
The battle lines have been drawn, and it remains to be seen how this spending dispute will play out. If the issue remains unresolved, it could lead to a showdown reminiscent of the January speaker standoff. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has warned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that he is “out of compliance” with the agreement that secured his position. Gaetz has laid out a list of demands, including votes on term limits and balanced budgets, subpoenas for the Biden family, and the impeachment of President Joe Biden.
As the clock ticks, both sides will need to find common ground to ensure the government stays open and running efficiently. The stakes are high, and the American people are relying on their elected officials to work together and make the tough decisions that will keep the country moving forward.