House Dems tout their own spending bill wins. And some contradict Johnson.


Both Democratic and Republican leaders are pushing their own victories in the upcoming six-bill spending bundle, reflecting the high stakes as Congress tries to finally end the nonstop funding drama of the current fiscal year.

During a closed-door party meeting on Wednesday, Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the top Democratic appropriator in the House, championed the legislation’s increase in Title I funding for schools serving low-income students, in addition to hikes for Head Start and child care funding, according to a source familiar with the meeting. DeLauro also celebrated budget boosts for cancer and Alzheimer’s research, a new FBI headquarters and more.

House Democrats gathered as Republicans met in a separate closed-door confab, with Speaker Mike Johnson touting a number of GOP talking points about the forthcoming package, including increased border funding and Covid cuts. He’s hoping to calm conservatives who are already angry about the last-minute nature of the legislation, which is expected to top $1 trillion and needs to clear both the House and Senate by Friday to avert a shutdown. The release of text could slip to Thursday, pushing Congress dangerously close to its deadline.

The concerted effort by both sides to establish talking points shows that leadership is working to head off any last-minute opposition. Appropriators are eager to finally close out the seemingly never-ending funding process of the current fiscal year, which saw four stopgaps and near-constant bickering. No congressional leaders want a partial shutdown, which would affect most of the federal government, including the military and major health programs.

But some of those talking points seem to run directly in contrast to each other, as both sides message their victories in the absence of bill text. DeLauro said the spending package would increase money for climate change efforts, while Johnson told his members Wednesday morning that it would cut such programs. A person familiar with the details of the not-yet-final spending deal said the cuts Johnson claimed were compared to President Joe Biden’s budget request, however, not compared to current funding levels.

The legislation includes a year-long extension of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR — an authorization Republicans had resisted, raising concerns about the program’s funds flowing to abortion providers overseas.

The package would grant 12,000 new visas for a program that allows Afghan allies who assisted in the U.S. war effort to immigrate to the U.S. And it includes more money for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

In the Republican meeting Wednesday, Johnson had celebrated the State-Foreign Operations bill for its inclusion of a prohibition on any flags other than the American flag flying at U.S. diplomatic facilities, which would ban flags representing the LGBTQ+ community and confederate flags, for example.

That language isn’t exactly new, however, having already been included in annual defense policy legislation last year for military bases, essentially codifying a Trump-era policy.

Overall, the six-bill package, which leaders expect will get a vote in the House on Friday, would fund the Pentagon, major health programs, the Department of Homeland Security, foreign aid programs, the IRS and more through Sept. 30, the remainder of the fiscal year.

Connor O’Brien contributed to this report.



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