WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress faces a tricky task this week as lawmakers try to use a $1.7 trillion government funding bill to Address other priorities, including tweaking election rules, drug sentencing reform and banning TikTok from all government-owned devices.
Both Democrats and Republicans want to include as many legislative wish list items as possible in an “omnibus” bill funding the government in September 10,
Failure could lead to a partial government shutdown, starting on Saturday, two days before Christmas, and could lead to a months-long standoff after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives on Jan. Deng’s Democrats control both houses of Congress.
“No one is going to get everything they want, but the end product will include victory for everyone,” Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat, said Thursday night in a legislative session. After the voters passed a week-long funding bill designed to put them through the work of the mammoth omnibus bill.
The full details of the package are being worked out over the weekend, but it will include a record45 BILLION for defense – more than Biden is proposing 45 Billions – additional aid to Ukraine, and funding for agencies such as the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the past two years, Republicans have passed several other domestic spending bills while maintaining full control of Congress. Omnibus bill, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.
Onerous rules in the Senate mean the appropriations bill could take several days to vote on, after which the House will need to pass it. The bill needs at least 10 Republican votes to pass the Senate, but only needs Democrat support to pass the House before Biden can sign it.
TIKTOK, VOTES, DRUGS
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she supports using the bill to pass a measure that was passed last week. Zhou won Senate approval to ban federal employees from using the Chinese-owned TikTok video app on government-owned devices.
Pelosi’s support, as well as that of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who aims to succeed her as Speaker, greatly improves the chances of delivering the provision
Another addition to the spending bill appears certain: Republican and Democratic leaders have agreed to clarify and tighten the way the winner of the US presidential election is certified by Congress. The move was in response to a riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 2021 by supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump, who sought to force then-Vice President Mike Pence to ignore Joe. Biden’s unequivocal – cut win – power that Pence doesn’t have – and ultimately kept Trump in the White House. Expenditure slip. Their option is to temporarily abandon certain efforts.
That’s exactly what’s happening with the Democrats’ efforts to provide citizenship to “Dreamer” immigrants who entered the US illegally as children.
The bipartisan proposal last Thursday protected these young people from deportation while also spending more money to keep immigrants south of the U.S. border.
Republicans have blocked such legislation for decades, arguing that America’s borders must be “secured” first.
Tentative agreement on criminal justice. A provision could be added to the Omnibus to address the discrepancy in prison sentencing between illicit use of crack cocaine and powder cocaine.
A decades-old law imposes harsher sentences on black cocaine users, according to civil rights and human rights groups.
Meanwhile, there is no clear sign of Democratic support for extending the expired expanded child tax credit. Republicans have hesitated, largely because the administration is paying the price, while pushing to extend some business tax breaks.
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said he supports a tax law that supports American manufacturing. But he wants it to be combined with an enhanced child tax credit.
“What do we do in this institution, if not to make things a little bit easier,” he said, for struggling families.
The risk of each add-on is that it could cost the crucial votes needed to pass a narrowly divided Congress.
McConnell warned that if an omnibus bill is not enacted by Thursday, he will support a “pivot” he wants extended to a new one. The third short-term funding bill of 2008.
This is the outcome that Biden and his fellow Democrats in Congress will work hard to avoid.