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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bipartisan Senate CR Including Disaster and Firefighter Funding Faces ‘Stop’ Sign in the House

The deadline to keep the government funded — or pass a continuing resolution to continue funding and negotiations — is this Saturday, Sept. 30. 

A bipartisan Senate measure to avert a government shutdown this weekend — a stopgap bill that also includes funding for disaster response, pandemic preparedness, wildland firefighters, and Federal Aviation Administration operations — has been deemed a non-starter in the lower chamber by the speaker of House.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 77-19 on a cloture motion to move toward a vote on a continuing resolution that would keep the government open through Nov. 17.

The deadline to keep the government funded — or pass a continuing resolution to continue funding and negotiations — is this Saturday, Sept. 30.

The 79-page CR advanced by the Senate stipulates that “the most limited funding action of that permitted in the Act shall be taken in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities” and restricts the furlough or termination of employees. It redesignates previously designated emergency funds to conform to spending caps under the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 and appropriates $4,499,000,000 “for an additional amount for fiscal year 2024, to remain available until September 30, 2024, to respond to the situation in Ukraine and for related expenses.” Ukrainian refugees granted parole through fiscal year 2023 would have those benefits extended during the continuing resolution.

The CR also provides the new Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy at the White House with $3.7 million in operations funding. It allots nearly $6 billion in emergency funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Disaster Relief Fund and allows FEMA to spend at a faster rate of operations from the fund during the duration of the CR if needed to respond to declared disasters. Authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program would also be extended along with authorization for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Protection System. The base pay salary increase for federal wildland firefighters could continue with flexibilities in the CR for the departments of the Interior and Agriculture.

And the Senate continuing resolution would extend through Dec. 31 the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program and authorization of FAA facilities and equipment, FAA operations, FAA research and development, and other programs including counter-UAS development and UAS remote detection.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with members of the House GOP conference this morning, where the Senate bill was discussed, and told reporters afterward, “I don’t see the support in the House.”

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters that McCarthy told Republicans that the Senate CR would not come up for a vote in the House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged lawmakers in remarks on the Senate floor today to support the short-term funding extension in order to work through the budget impasse — noting that servicemembers, Border Patrol and ICE agents, and VA medical providers would be among those who would have to “go without their paychecks” in the event of a shutdown.

“A vote against a standard, short-term funding measure is a vote against paying over $1 billion in salary for CBP and ICE agents working to track down lethal fentanyl and tame our open borders,” McConnell said. “Letting FEMA’s disaster relief fund dry up is not a productive way to advocate for victims of disasters… Shutting down the government isn’t an effective way to make a point. And keeping it open is the only way to make a difference on the most important issues we face.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.) called on McCarthy to “resist the 30 or so Republicans who want to drag us in that direction” toward a shutdown.

“A reckless shutdown will cause grave harm to our border. It will affect our military by withholding their pay,” Schumer said in floor remarks today. “It will disrupt everything from food safety inspection to TSA operations to small business loans.”

The White House highlighted a potential government shutdown’s impacts to aviation security in a statement today, noting that “more than 13,000 air traffic controllers and 50,000 Transportation Security Officers — in addition to thousands of other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel — would have to show up to do their critical jobs without getting paid until funding becomes available.”

“In previous shutdowns, this led to significant delays and longer wait times for travelers at airports across the country,” the administration said, adding that a shutdown “would halt air traffic controller training — potentially leading to long-term disruptions to the industry at a moment when we’ve seen critical progress filling a backlog of controllers.”

White House Vows to Veto House Republicans’ DHS Appropriations Bill as Shutdown Looms

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Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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