House Republicans will try again this week to advance their funding outline for the Defense Department in fiscal 2024, just a few days after far-right lawmakers derailed leadership’s plans to move ahead on the budget measure.
The chamber was set to vote on the $826 billion plan last week, but Republican leaders shelved the legislation after members of the GOP’s right-of-right Freedom Caucus indicated they would not support the bill without promises of additional cuts to non-defense spending. That left the appropriations measure without enough backing to pass, since Democrats have already raised objections to the Republicans’ proposed limits on abortion access for troops and other social issues in the measure.
House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chair Ken Calvert, R-Calf., told Defense News that GOP leaders are working to address their conservative colleagues’ complaints and remain hopeful a deal can be reached in the next few days.
But the standoff further exacerbates tensions surrounding all of Congress’ undone budget work. The new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Without a full series of new appropriations bills for all federal agencies or a short-term budget extension by then, government funding will lapse, forcing a partial government shutdown.
That could prompt furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and delay paychecks for troops mandated to stay on duty. Both House and Senate leaders have said they hope to see progress on a short-term budget deal in the next few days.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.