Update: On Friday afternoon, H.R. 5525, the Spending Reduction and Border Security Act, failed in the House of Representatives due to 21 Republicans and all 211 Democrats voting in opposition. With less than 24 hours of government funding left, the House considered and passed H.R. 5860, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 and Other Extensions Act. In the eleventh hour, the Senate passed, and President Biden signed the bill into law with only hours left of government funding. This stop-gap effort funds the government through November 17th and largely veers away from, what some might call, “inflammatory” provisions that would lose a majority of Republican or Democrats, like border or Ukraine funding. Moving forward, the House of Representative’s plan is to pass all 12 appropriation bills before November 17th. If the House accomplishes their goal, the responsibility of government funding will then fall to the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Capitol Hill has been buzzing with activity as we are moving closer to September 30, when, at midnight, government funding will expire. So, what is the problem? Why has Congress not been able to move forward on funding measures?
Every year, Congress must pass 12 appropriation bills to fund the government, but in recent years, this process has become more and more difficult, and Continuing Resolutions (CR) have become all too common. A Continuing Resolution is often described as a “kick the can down the road effort” because it does not go through the proper processes to fund the government. It often does not fund the government for an entire year, only for a short period, and it marries together a variety of funding streams that should be debated and voted on in their proper committees of jurisdiction.
In recent weeks, there have been a few Republicans who have refused to vote for a CR due to it not being the intended process for government funding. Due to these Republicans’ firm stance on working through funding measures through their proper processes, late last night, the House of Representatives passed three appropriation bills: (1) the Fiscal Year 24 (FY24) State and Foreign Operations bill, (2) the FY24 Defense bill, and (3) the FY24 Homeland bill. These bills are now in the hands of the Senate chamber for a vote. It is important to note that the House of Representatives has now passed four appropriation bills through the chamber, while the Senate has passed zero.
Despite some House members’ desire to avoid a CR, they are looking at the reality that one, even short-term, needs to be passed. The Senate has been trying to work one out, which is why you may be reading about a fight on the funding of efforts in Ukraine while ignoring the needs at the southern border.
It has become more and more evident that a stop-gap measure, like the CR, is necessary to ensure that Congress has time to properly pass twelve appropriation bills. Today, the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 5525, the Spending Reduction and Border Security Act. This one-month CR will fund the government through October 31 and maintain current funding levels for national defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, and disaster relief, and ensures flexibility for the Department of Defense. It also establishes a Fiscal Commission to identify policies to improve the nation’s fiscal situation and achieve a sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio over the long term. Once again, perhaps the most talked about provisions of this bill are the provisions that have to do with securing the border and prohibiting federal funds that contribute to the seemingly open-border policies that the Biden Administration has implemented. The situation is indeed dire.
Only time will tell if this effort garners enough House support to pass out of the House, not to mention the even more difficult landscape it will face when it hits the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Let us unite in prayer for this complicated but much-needed discussion of our country’s fiscal policy. Though some may not see the spiritual dimension of these debates, we at Concerned Women for America know, as our Founding Fathers did, that we need God’s wisdom to sift through it all.
As William Penn famously wrote, “If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by Him ….Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”