Speaker McCarthy is Open to Biden’s Call for Short-Term Budget Fix

The Biden administration is calling on the Congress to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government running.

“Although the crucial work continues to reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, it is clear that a short-term continuing resolution (CR) will be needed next month,” an Office of Management and Budget spokesperson told The Hill.

“As part of our responsibility to prudently plan for a short-term CR, OMB is providing Congress with technical assistance needed to avoid severe disruptions to government services in the first quarter of the fiscal year,” the spokesperson added.

As initially reported by The Washington Post, the Biden administration has put forth new funding requests that include an additional $1.4 billion aimed at supporting nutritional assistance programs for families with low incomes. Additionally, there is a request for $1.9 billion to be allocated to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, specifically to address the needs of the influx of new arrivals from Haiti and Cuba.

Furthermore, the administration is seeking congressional approval for increased spending flexibility among federal agencies. This would enable more rapid responses to pandemics, expedite the processing of student loan applications and disbursements, and streamline the review of Social Security claims.

A spokesperson from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) emphasized the importance of including these specific funding adjustments, referred to as “anomalies,” along with the urgent requirements outlined in the emergency supplemental proposal sent by the Administration earlier in the month. The spokesperson noted that such inclusions have been a common practice in the past, enjoying bipartisan support.

This recent request for additional funding comes in addition to a roughly $40 billion supplemental spending proposal presented by the White House to Congress earlier in the month. That initial request encompassed various aspects, including $24 billion intended for military, financial, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. It also featured a $12 billion plea for supplemental funds to bolster the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) capacity to address both present and future natural disasters.

The imperative for Congress to approve a funding bill before the close of September is pressing to avert a government shutdown. The prospect of the process becoming arduous looms as lawmakers reconvene post Labor Day. Some conservative members of the House have hinted at being open to a shutdown if spending cuts are not agreed upon by Democrats.

In this context, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is rallying House Republicans to assist in advancing a “short-term” continuing resolution for funding beyond September 30, considering the intricate nature of the government funding process.

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As the situation currently stands, only one of the 12 regular appropriations bills has been passed by the House, while none have progressed through the Senate. With merely 11 legislative days left for the House before the conclusion of fiscal year 2023, the task of ensuring necessary funding could become more challenging.

By Melinda Davies
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