At Last, Congress Funds Government for Current Fiscal Year

At Last, Congress Funds Government for Current Fiscal Year

They were six months past their deadline but in late March Congress finally managed to pass the last legislation needed to fund the government for fiscal year 2024.

President Biden’s signing of the measure completed a turbulent government funding process during a divided government, featuring a year of haggling, six months of stopgap bills and intense partisan clashes over money and policy along the way.

The full government will now be funded through the end of September, after Congress passed a previous partial funding bill of $459 billion earlier in March. The total spending level for the fiscal year is $1.659 trillion.

The final funding legislation will cover the departments of State, Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, among other parts of the government that had not yet been fully funded.

The divided Congress has narrowly averted multiple shutdowns this session, passing four stopgap bills that kept extending the deadline. And at nearly six months into the fiscal year, it’s unusually late in the game to be haggling over the funding measures.

Part of the delay in getting the funding legislation passed was due to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives ousting GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October and not electing a new Speaker for three weeks.  The House was virtually paralyzed during those three weeks, and nothing was accomplished legislatively.

Now, we are wondering if we will be in for the same drama in the next few days because immediately after the final funding legislation was passed, Republican Congresswoman Marjory Taylor Greene of Georgia filed a motion to kick out Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).  While the resolution does not need to be addressed immediately, it represents the most formal and strident challenge to the speaker’s leadership since he took over in late last year.