President Joe Biden may have to forgo key elements of his lame-duck session agenda to pass government funding before Christmastime, the Washington Examiner reported.
The White House and congressional Democrats are seeking to force in a slew of measures before the new Congress, which includes a Republican-controlled House, in a last-ditch effort to forward Biden's plans before likely gridlock.
But the party might lack the necessary votes even now, with 10 Republican votes necessary in the Senate to push an appropriations bill through and bypass a filibuster. Still, defectors from the GOP side remain possible.
"As fractured as we are on a lot of other issues, there's probably [a] no better indicator of the fractures in our caucus than those on federal spending," Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., told Politico.
"I wouldn't expect any clarity on [government funding] until the very week that we begin to lapse in appropriations because that has become the new normal in Congress, and that is regrettable," he continued. "We are unaware of any serious negotiations going on at all."
Although the government is currently funded through Dec. 16 due to a continuing resolution passed in September, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged congressional leaders to retire the continuing resolution last week and pass a bipartisan appropriations bill.
It comes as the Defense Department head is awaiting the passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which has received extensive attention amid fears of a depleting U.S. arsenal.
"It is essential that Congress act now to complete a full-year, whole of government funding bill before the end of 2022," Austin argued. "Failure to do so will result in significant harm to our people and our programs and would cause harm to our national security and our competitiveness."
"At a time when many in Congress are strongly supporting the funding level, we requested for [the] fiscal year 2023, or advocating for additional funding, operating under a CR [continuing resolution] moves our budget backward, not forward," he added.
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