Lawmakers say Congress could be closing in on a topline deal on overall government funding for most of next year, as the House and Senate race to reach a compromise in time to avert a shutdown next month. Spending cardinals in both chambers on Tuesday said they could receive a topline spending level from leadership for Congress’s 12 annual government funding bills in the coming days, as Republicans and Democrats clamor to begin negotiations. While Sen.
Susan Collins (Maine), top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on Tuesday that she’s not “directly involved” in the negotiations, she told The Hill she expects “them to be concluded this week. ” GOP appropriators on the House side have also said leadership indicated the number could come this week. “Sometime this week, yeah,” Rep.
Tom Cole (R-Okla. ) told The Hill on Tuesday. “The Speaker said about midweek, so I think so.
” Pressed on whether leadership would have a topline deal this week, however, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N. Y. ) told The Hill: “We’re working on it.
” Republicans in both chambers say they’re expecting the number to be close to the spending cap agreed to as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt ceiling deal agreed to between then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif. ) and President Biden earlier this year. Lawmakers set the cap for annual government funding hashed out by Congress for fiscal 2024 at $1.
59 trillion at the time. The compromise came as part of a larger bipartisan deal that federal budget analysts could reduce the nation’s deficit projections by $1. 5 trillion over the next decade.
However, questions remain around where a side deal to yank back old tens of billions of dollars in funding for Democratic initiatives greenlit in the previous Congress stands, as some conservatives object to a handshake agreement between GOP leaders and the White House to reinvest those dollars into nondefense programs. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.
Va. ), a member of the Senate appropriations panel, said on Tuesday that she expects the eventual topline to look similar to level set in the FRA, but “without the side deal numbers. ” Sen.
Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), another appropriator, said he’s also heard the Speaker was “suggesting the number negotiated without any add-ons. ” He acknowledged the potential change would represent “a significant change to the deal, but it’s closer than where we’ve ever been. ” However, some Democrats are already pushing back on the prospect.
“A deal is a deal is a deal,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), an appropriator, said of the idea. “I think there’s no way we’re going to get to an appropriations deal if people can’t hold to their commitments.
” He added even $10 billion could make a difference in budget talks. “We’re going to be scrounging for everything we can find. ” “So, this matters in terms of the money but it also matters in terms of whether or not any agreement we make with the House can even hold,” he said.