One of the most popular jokes on Capitol Hill is that nothing motivates Congress to move quickly more than the smell of jet fuel, leaving DC for home or vacation. I can remember my days as a Congressional aide waiting in the Representative’s or Senator’s car at the steps of the Capitol for a mad rush to Reagan Airport so that they could make the next plane home. Today aides are poised in their cars for that short trip.
Yesterday the Senate passed its version of the Continuing Resolution (CR) by a large bipartisan majority of 72 to 25. Today the House followed, but relying on the Democratic majority, as Republicans opposed the bill, knowing their votes weren’t needed. The CR runs until December 16 when the Congress will have to go through the entire process again and the nation faces the threat of a government shutdown. Here is the official summary of the CR as passed by the Senate. https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Continuing%20Resolution_Section%20by%20Section.pdf
The next CR will be debated with the outcome of the 2022 elections in the books and, assuming Republicans capture control of at least the House, the CR politics will be dicey. Leaders will have two choices in December—they can clear the decks and fund the entire government through the end of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2023, or they can have another short-term CR until early 2023, when the Republican House would have more leverage. House Republicans could put pressure on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his Republican Senators to make the appropriate demands to get the 60 votes needed to pass a CR in the Senate.
The politics of the December CR will be a challenge for Republicans in Florida and the Carolinas as there is already talk of putting billions into the legislation to help with storm damage. Money is likely to be included for Puerto Rico which could be a factor for Republicans as they have had a real initiative to attract Hispanic votes. In any event, the politics of another short-term CR pushed by an incoming Republican majority vs an Omnibus Spending Bill that gives funds to new programs ranging from military needs to fighting a new Covid season will be a key issue of debate after the November elections.