If you've been reading us a while, you'll know by now that your Steptoe appropriations team is determined to be optimistic. Our optimism is based on decades of experience which usually results in accurate projections for our readers. We do realize that with more regularity than usual, however, Congress has a knack for being their own worst enemy.

More FY24: With just two weeks to go until federal funding begins to time out, key Appropriations Committee members, including Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Vice Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), and many others, remain hopeful that all 12 appropriations bills will be finalized by their deadlines.

We've said this before and it bears repeating: if negotiations were left to the appropriators, all 12 bills would be completed on time and on budget. However, our concern for a few of the bills is how hard the leadership of either party will push for attaching controversial "riders" (policy language) to any of these bills. At this time, we are particularly concerned about Homeland Security, but others could see a last-minute hiccup or two.

Supplemental Struggle: Following last week's collapse of the Senate's bipartisan border deal, the Senate passed a supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan with no border security provisions by a vote of 70-29. Despite almost half of the Senate GOP conference supporting the measure, House GOP leadership has remained steadfast in their opposition and has vowed to prevent its consideration on the floor.

There have been discussions among House members in favor of the package attempting to use a "discharge petition" to bypass leadership's opposition and bring the bill to the floor. This approach is a longshot, as most of the GOP conference (regardless of their support or not of the underlying bill) is skeptical of endorsing a process that bypasses their own leadership. Further, a handful of House Democrats remain opposed to aid for Israel. In addition to the discharge petition effort, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers led by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) has released a legislative framework that includes foreign aid and border security provisions.

Speaker Johnson has stated he wants to work on FY24 regular appropriations bills first. Considering there are only three legislative days before the first tranche of bills expires on March 1, we expect the House to stick with that plan.

Client Alert: Member deadlines for FY25 requests are fast approaching. If you are still thinking of funding or policy changes for FY25 and haven't spoken to us, contact us ASAP!

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