Congress launches funding talks ahead of February shutdown cliff


Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy delivered a sanguine evaluation as he exited the assembly Thursday. “We had a worthwhile discussion,” the Vermont Democrat mentioned.

More than three months into the fiscal yr, senior lawmakers have nonetheless but to set totals for his or her two major buckets of cash — navy money and spending for non-defense packages. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), his social gathering’s high upper-chamber appropriator, mentioned Thursday that spending leaders solely mentioned broad floor guidelines for negotiating a last funding package deal.

“The four of us had constructive talks of where we go and how we get there and how we start,” Shelby informed reporters after the assembly. “And we hadn’t worked that out yet, and we’re going to continue to talk and meet.”

Democratic leaders have blasted Republicans’ insistence that they provide in from the get-go to coverage restrictions that had been baked into prior funding payments, regardless of controlling each Congress and the presidency. Besides the high-profile debate over the abortion rider often called the Hyde Amendment, Republicans need Democrats to nix funding for environmental justice work and forgo funding in a Civilian Climate Corps that might struggle local weather change and preserve public lands.

GOP leaders additionally wish to guarantee ongoing funding for controversial federal efforts, just like the Department of Health and Human Services’ “sexual risk avoidance” program that gives lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in grants to packages that promote sexual abstinence till marriage.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) repeatedly derided the GOP coverage calls for this week, earlier than calling the Thursday confab a “constructive” dialog she hopes to proceed within the coming days “with the shared goal” of wrapping up negotiations by the Feb. 18 funding deadline.

“An ultimatum will not be negotiating,” DeLauro mentioned Wednesday. “There will be a very robust debate around policy issues and riders.”

Ahead of the Thursday assembly amongst appropriators, Shelby and Leahy huddled earlier within the week with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in what Shelby described as “a very cordial meeting” about spending negotiations, together with Republicans’ want to set pointers on the outset of the deal-making.

“We want to establish some parameters, dealing with legacy poison pills, all that off the table,” Shelby mentioned Wednesday night. “And then we start talking about seriously funding the government.”



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