On February 28, 2024, House Speaker Johnson (R-LA), Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Jeffries (D-NY) along with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Member DeLauro (D-CT) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Murray (D-WA) and Vice Chair Collins (R-ME) released a statement unveiling a new Continuing Resolution (CR) for government funding, as the enacted CR at the time was set to expire on March 1st and March 8th.

From the statement: “Negotiators have come to an agreement on six bills: Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice and Science, Energy and Water Development, Interior, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD.”

“After preparing final text, this package of six full year Appropriations bills will be voted on and enacted prior to March 8. These bills will adhere to the Fiscal Responsibility Act discretionary spending limits and January’s topline spending agreement. The remaining six Appropriations bills – Defense, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS, Legislative Branch and State and Foreign Operations – will be finalized, voted on and enacted prior to March 22.”

The CR, which again extended FY 2023 funding, passed by wide bipartisan margins in the House (320-99) and then the Senate (77-13) last week.

On Sunday, March 3, 2024, lead Appropriators unveiled the first group of funding bills as a bipartisan, bicameral “minibus” package. These bills align with the topline funding targets negotiated during the debt ceiling debate last summer and, importantly, do not contain any new controversial policy riders, for which House Republicans had been pushing. According to the Senate Majority statement, the package does the following:

  • Fully funds WIC—protecting essential benefits for nearly 7 million women and kids nationwide and ensuring no one will be put on a waitlist or denied assistance.
  • Protects vital rental assistance to help millions of households keep a roof over their head and protects key programs to help build more housing.
  • Rejects drastic cuts to core environmental and conservation programs—and extreme riders that would block progress to tackle the climate crisis.

Additionally, the Transportation and Housing bill includes full funding for the Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers, which provide vouchers for some families and young people with child welfare involvement and were eliminated in the House version of the bill.

Appropriators plan to vote on these six bills this week, ahead of the March 8th deadline. Several of the bills in the second group are more controversial, such as the Labor-HHS bill that funds many human service programs.