With a new House Speaker taking the lead, Congress is making progress on passing appropriations bills as another possible shutdown approaches.
On September 30, Congress narrowly avoided a shutdown by passing a temporary funding package while both chambers worked to agree on appropriations bills. The temporary measure only funded the government until November 17.
The Democrat-controlled Senate must work with a Republican majority House on a mutually agreeable set of spending bills to fund the entire government for the next fiscal year.
Worries increased when the House voted earlier this month to oust U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker of the House, replacing him on Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.). after weeks of deliberation.
The House's first order of business Thursday was to pass one of the appropriations bills needed to continue government funding.
Yesterday I promised we were going to get back to work & today we proved it. https://t.co/E9aEU95O59— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) October 26, 2023
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill, which provides $58 billion in discretionary spending, passed the House on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) praised the bill's passage, which is $1.963 billion below the amount suggested by the Biden administration.
"This legislation provides funding to strengthen our national security and energy security while rescinding $5.58 billion in wasteful spending on projects designed to satisfy Biden's wealthy environmentalist base from his failed Inflation Reduction Act," Moore said. "Furthermore, the bill eliminates Biden's disastrous WOTUS rule that wastes hard-earned taxpayer dollars and delays efforts to improve infrastructure and protect clean water – even on private lands."
Among many things, the bill eliminates funding for climate change activities in the Corps of Engineers, Rejects Bidens's request for $35 million to start a new "National Laboratory" focused on "multidisciplinary research in diverse communities," and cuts allegedly wasteful spending on alternative energy programs.
It also gives additional funding to domestic energy projects and prohibits petroleum reserves from being sold to China or Chinese-controlled entities.
Despite the new speaker, many federal lawmakers are skeptical Congress can reach a mutual agreement in the remaining three weeks.
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