WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday proposed a catch-all spending package that would provide billions to support Ukraine’s war effort, help communities across the United States recover from natural disasters and maintain funding from the federal government until mid-December.
Democrats and Republicans voted 72-23 to move the measure to a final vote later this week – a success that was only possible after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer withdrew from the vote. measures a reform bill authorizing the energy of Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III.
The Manchin plan had drawn widespread rebuke from most Republicans, a few Senate Democrats, and a large group of progressive members of the U.S. House — all of whom could have risked the program’s passage. government funding before the current law expires Friday at midnight.
Schumer announced he would withdraw the energy permit bill from the largest package on the Senate floor late Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Manchin issued a statement calling on Schumer to do so.
Schumer said in his speech on the floor that he would work with Manchin and others “to have conversations about how best to ensure that responsible licensing reform is passed before the end of the year.”
Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said shortly after the news broke that she had no idea Manchin was going to ask Schumer to withdraw the energy permit reform bill, which she planned to sustain.
Capito said negotiations on energy permit reform would likely continue and noted that it could be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon’s annual bill.
“I think the NDAA is still there,” she said.
Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said in a statement that removing Manchin’s licensing reform bill from the government’s spending package was the “right move” and urged leaders to drop it of “any future legislation ‘to be passed’.
“Many would agree that our permit system could be improved,” Merkley said. “If the Senate is to address these issues in the future, it must be with a deliberative committee process and a robust, self-sustaining debate that gives the American people, and especially those most affected by this legislation, a full opportunity to weigh.
Kaine Pipeline Objections
Removing the Manchin Permit Reform Bill from the must-have government funding package took weeks and followed more than 70 progressive democrats release letter who asked party leaders to keep Manchin’s bill out of the funding package that must become law by Oct. 1.
Earlier Tuesday, Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine chastised the bill, saying Manchin’s securing approval for the Mountain Valley pipeline under its plan “without normal administrative and judicial review” was unacceptable.
“The pipeline crosses Virginia for 100 miles and takes ownership from landowners, but I was not consulted because an agreement was reached to approve it and so I did not have the opportunity to share the deep concerns of my constituents,” Kaine said in a statement that announced he would vote against the package.
Kaine then urged Senate leaders to pass a funding package “without the unprecedented and dangerous MVP deal.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, also rejected the allowing portion of the reform package, saying from the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon before Schumer withdrew the bill that he It was a “poison pill”.
“What our fellow Democrats have produced is a false fig leaf that would set back the cause for real licensing reform,” McConnell said.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 17 other Republican attorneys general sent a letter to the leaders of the United States Senate Tuesday, opposing Manchin’s energy permit bill, writing that the measure “contains sweeping new authority for (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) that could upset traditional authority between the states and the federal government, and ultimately implement the Clean Power Plan through other means.”
The overall spending plan, if approved by the US Senate and US House this week, would fund the government until Dec. 16. The measure must become law by midnight Friday, when the current federal spending power will expire to avoid a funding hiatus or partial government. close.
It’s a scenario Democratic leaders wanted to avoid, especially with November’s midterm elections just weeks away.
New Mexico Help
The spending package, released just before midnight on Monday night, would provide billions of dollars in funding to help with heating and cooling costs for low-income households, community disaster grants, and ongoing recovery efforts related to the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire that damaged much of New Mexico this spring.
It includes $12 billion in aid to Ukraine, the third installment this year, bringing total U.S. investment in the country’s war effort to about $66 billion.
Congress approved a $13.6 billion budget rescue package in March, just weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine and another $40 billion package in May – both with broad bipartisan support.
The Biden administration has requested that this tranche of Ukraine aid funding be $11.7 billion.
U.S. lawmakers also chose to include $35 million “to respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine, assist Ukrainian partners in ensuring the security of nuclear and radiological materials, and prevent the illicit smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials.” “.
The package does not include $22.4 billion in COVID-19 funding or $4.5 billion for the monkeypox outbreak, both were requested by the White House and widely rejected by Republicans.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said Tuesday he thinks funding for public health is “short-sighted.”
Leahy said he would “revisit” the issue in December, when Congress is expected to agree on a funding package for the entire year.
Avoid a stop
The short-term spending bill, sometimes called a continuing resolution, or CR, is needed to prevent a government shutdown when the current spending law expires at the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
The stopgap aims to give lawmakers and the Biden administration more time to come to an agreement on how much the federal government should spend in fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1, and where any increased funding should be directed.
A bipartisan agreement on total discretionary spending levels, $1.512 trillion for the current fiscal year, would then allow the 12 panels tasked with an annual government spending bill to begin drafting legislation to fund dozens of ministries and agencies.
of President Joe Biden budget request for the coming fiscal year has asked Congress to approve $795 billion for defense programs and $915 billion for non-defense programs, which includes spending by the Departments of Homeland Security, justice and veterans.
The current act provides $782 billion for defense spending and $730 billion for non-defence funding.
If Congress and the White House can’t reach agreement on the bills by their new December deadline, they can still pass another short-term spending bill that would stretch through 2023.
This type of funding strategy is, however, largely inconvenient for many federal departments, including the Pentagon.
Because the short-term interim spending bills maintain current spending levels and policies in the new fiscal year, this means that federal departments generally cannot launch new programs or increase spending in areas that are unavailable. ‘they have targeted for additional funding in the budget request.
The Sens Republicans. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri voted against the package Tuesday evening. , John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho , Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.