Two major pieces of military budget legislation are expected to be on the move this week, but whether either will help stave off fears of a looming government shutdown at the end of the month remains unclear.
House Republican leaders have said they hope to debate the annual Defense Department appropriations bill on the chamber floor this week. Passing the $826 billion plan for fiscal 2024 before the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30) would prevent any budget lapse for department operations, but is seen as a long shot considering Senate Democrats’ opposition to some provisions in the measure.
The timeline for voting on the bill is also uncertain. House Rules Committee members still need to sort through more than 330 amendments to the bill for floor consideration.
Senate leaders have similarly unveiled plans to consider a series of appropriations bills starting this week, to include the military construction and Veterans Affairs budgets for fiscal 2024. Passing those in the next few weeks could also help jumpstart broader budget talks between the chambers, but is unlikely to come in time to solve the shutdown threat.
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass all of their funding bills for next year or a short-term budget extension measure. If not, the funding lapse will trigger a partial government shutdown which could furlough hundreds of thousands of federal workers and delay paychecks for military members.
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.