The stopgap spending bill Congress sent to President Biden late Wednesday prevented the federal government from shutting down as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday. But it is only a temporary reprieve, and lawmakers have considerable work to do before federal agencies again face the threat of running out of money beginning Jan. 19.

The House and the Senate are far behind in advancing their annual spending bills, and House Republicans have encountered deep resistance to some of them from within their own ranks.

Speaker Mike Johnson said this week that he would not push forward any more temporary funding fixes, putting pressure on the House and the Senate to pass their remaining yearlong bills, reconcile them and send them to Mr. Biden. That will prove extraordinarily difficult to do. And Congress still must address a separate request from the president for more than $100 billion in emergency national security aid for wars in Israel and Ukraine.

Here’s what Congress has done — and left undone — to fund the government.

The new stopgap legislation extends existing funding for all federal agencies into early next year but does so in a way different from how Congress historically approved temporary funding.

Under the measure, funding for agriculture, energy, veterans, transportation and housing programs covered by four separate spending bills expires on Jan. 19. Money for remaining programs funded under eight other bills would run out on Feb. 2. Mr. Johnson pushed the staggered deadlines as a way to force Congress to act while avoiding the usual Christmas deadline crunch. Critics — including Democrats who supported it — say the approach will simply lead to a series of rolling shutdown threats.

The Senate has approved just three of its 12 individual spending bills, but all 12 have been approved by the Appropriations Committee in a bipartisan fashion as the panel has worked to have a more orderly and transparent process than in recent years.

The House has approved seven of its 12 bills, but Republicans have been bitterly divided over spending. Disputes over how much funding to cut and which conservative policy provisions to attach have left Mr. Johnson and his leadership team facing a significant challenge in securing passage of the remaining measures.

House Democrats uniformly oppose all of the bills because right-wing Republicans have demanded that the funding levels be set below a debt and spending agreement struck this year between Kevin McCarthy, the speaker at the time, and Mr. Biden. That has forced Republicans to rely strictly on their own members to pass the bills, with very little margin for error because of their tiny majority.

The bill funding agriculture programs and the Food and Drug Administration already failed once on the floor in a dispute over abortion-related restrictions. Two others were pulled from consideration when they ran into trouble, and another was blocked on a procedural vote Wednesday in a protest by far-right Republicans over the stopgap bill. The 12th bill, covering labor and federal health programs, is usually the most difficult to steer through Congress.

If the House and the Senate can pass their remaining bills, they must then resolve their significant differences and come up with a final version. Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to write their bills at the funding level set in the earlier agreement between Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Biden. And Senate leaders of both parties are seeking even more money for the Pentagon. Senators have also steered clear of the “poison pill” policy riders scattered throughout the House bills.

Reconciling these versions will be very tough.

The legislation to avert a shutdown did not include any funding for Israel or Ukraine. Lawmakers are expected over the next month to try to devise a bill that would send aid to American allies in both conflicts, as well as to address the surge in immigration at the U.S. southern border.

Mr. Biden asked Congress in October to approve a $105 billion emergency national security spending package, primarily to support Israel and Ukraine. But Republicans in the House balked, reflecting the growing antipathy in the G.O.P. to funding Ukraine.

Both Mr. Johnson and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, have said that any aid to Ukraine must be tied to new stringent border security measures. Their insistence on linking aid for Kyiv to addressing the largely intractable problem of immigration, which has defied congressional resolution for years, will complicate efforts to swiftly negotiate and pass an aid package. The work will be a priority for Congress between Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

Under a provision of the fiscal agreement made by Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Biden in May, federal spending would be cut 1 percent across the board on April 30 if Congress cannot reach a governmentwide spending deal before then.

Should the provision take effect, it would produce some quirky outcomes. If Congress still has not altered the spending levels currently in effect, which were set last year when Democrats controlled Congress, a 1 percent reduction would still leave domestic programs with more money than they would get in the funding bills currently being considered by the Senate.

But Pentagon spending would decrease, something that lawmakers in both parties are eager to avoid. The incentive will be strong among defense hawks, including many Republicans, to prevent that from happening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *