Slow Start to the Congressional Year
After a year of failed priorities from the Biden administration, Congress has begun the new year quietly. There are a couple of important issues nagging them though: funding the government and a Supreme Court vacancy.
The federal government survived solely on continuing resolutions last year. The most recent, passed in December, is set to expire on February 18th. Although House Democrats passed budget-related bills in 2021, they erased all pro-life protections and added in pork-like vaccine mandate funding, increasing the minimum wage, Green New Deal language, and paid family leave. These leftist policies deemed the budget dead-on-arrival in the Senate. Thankfully, House Republicans consistently opposed these measures. In fact, Congressman Chip Roy from Texas and over a dozen of his colleagues wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership to oppose any budget bill that funds vaccine mandates.
Now, appropriators must tackle the impossible task of putting together a bipartisan, Senate-approved omnibus package. The White House already weighed in on the idea by asking for more COVID relief funding even though they never used the full amounts that were previously passed. Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) have been working on a deal since December, but have yet to settle on anything that can be made public. Thankfully, Senate Republicans have been clear with their wants and concerns in the meantime. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated:
Number one, Democrats will need to honor the long-standing bipartisan truce that provides parity for defense and nondefense spending…. Number two, we must have agreement that we’re going to keep long-standing policy riders in and new poison pill riders out.
If the Senate can agree on the above demands, it will never satisfy the far-left arm of the House who held up the infrastructure bill until the Build Back Better bill was passed. With that bill stalled in the Senate, they will want the omnibus to contain some of the language they worked so hard to move forward.
In addition to the budget, the Senate will be working alongside the White House on a Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat.
This past Thursday, President Biden stated in a press conference that he will nominate a black woman to the Court. He said:
“While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision except one: the person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”
There has been a lot of talk on who the nominee might be. With only a slight majority in the Senate, Democrats and President Biden will have to play it cool if they want a nominee to make it through the nomination process. Midterms are right around the corner! Be sure to sign up for Eagle Forum’s alerts and reports for news and analysis.
The House and Senate are back in session this week with high hopes of crafting a big government funding package. Meanwhile, the Senate is waiting on Biden’s announcement on a Supreme Court nominee. Listen to this week’s Capitol Hill Update to hear what to expect.