Over the weekend, Congress worked to negotiate final plans for the roughly $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government past March 11. But lawmakers have yet to release legislative text of a final bill and outstanding issues remain, so they might be forced to pass another short-term funding extension to buy additional time to reach a deal.
Outstanding Issues for Funding Bill
One issue holding up passage of the funding bill is the Biden administration’s request for $22.5 billion in pandemic relief funding. Senate Republicans have objected to the request, arguing that the administration should provide a “full accounting of how the federal government has already spent the first $6 trillion” before they would consider supporting more funds. With a 50-50 party split in the Senate, all provisions must have bipartisan support.
Senate Republicans also have slowed consideration of the budget bill by requesting a Congressional Budget Office analysis on the effects of the legislation on rising inflation and the federal debt. In a letter from eight Senate Republicans, signers maintain they “cannot allow another massive spending package to be rushed through Congress without proper consideration and scrutiny.”
Additionally, concerns remain regarding the amount of emergency aid to Ukraine the package should contain.
Both the House and Senate are in session. The House will enter recess on Wednesday, March 9, and House Democrats will travel to Philadelphia for their annual retreat.
Next Tuesday, March 15, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on the PREVENT Pandemics Act.
Register Now: Spring Policy Assembly
America’s Essential Hospitals invites you to join us online for our spring Policy Assembly, March 15–16. Attendees will learn about current legislation, hear a 2022 midterm election preview, and review the outlook for essential hospital advocacy priorities. Register today!