Washington, D.C. Update

Senate Passes Emergency Supplemental for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan

The Senate passed a $95.3B Israel-Ukraine-Taiwan foreign aid bill earlier this week by a vote of 70-29. After being received in the House, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) first said the House needed time to “process” the bill before considering it on the floor, but then declared it dead on arrival as it didn’t include border security provisions.


House Republicans who want to see an emergency supplemental passed into law negotiated an alternative package that was released this morning. H.R. 7372 provides $47.7B in emergency aid to Ukraine, $10.4B for Israel, $5.4B for the Indo-Pacific including Taiwan, and $2.4B to support U.S. operations in the Middle East. The bill also includes language for the Secretary of Homeland Security to “suspend the entry of inadmissible aliens” in order to help achieve “operational control of the border.” Immigration officials could immediately detain and expel inadmissible migrants who cross over the U.S.-Mexico border or enter the country by other means. Asylum standards would be toughened, and the “Remain in Mexico” policy would be implemented for one year as well. The House bill excludes the Senate bill’s $10B for humanitarian aid and well as $13B in nondefense funding for Ukraine.


It’s unclear if the bill will get the support it needs from Republicans in the House for passage. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), one of the chief negotiators for the compromise bill, said he intends to discuss it with Speaker Johnson this weekend. Even if it passes the House, passage of this new compromise bill is far from guaranteed in the Senate.


Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Update

The House and Senate are in recess next week and return the week of February 26 (Senate returns Monday 2/26, the House returns Wednesday 2/28). The current continuing resolutions (CRs) funding the federal government expire on March 1 and March 8. The House has only three days to pass four of the 12 annual spending bills before the March 1 deadline to avoid a government shutdown.


The biggest holdup right now are conservative policy riders that staff continue to negotiate. Hardline conservatives are pushing to force a government shutdown or enact a full-year CR in order to try to win these policy fights. Republican Appropriators told the hardliners that a shutdown only hurts House Republicans.


Congress may have to pass a fourth CR to extend current spending for FY24 before the March 1 deadline.


DHS Secretary Impeachment

The House impeached DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Tuesday night on a party-line vote, 214-213. This is the first time in nearly 150 years that the House has voted to oust a Cabinet official. The Senate will start the impeachment trial for Mayorkas when the chamber returns from the Presidents Day recess on February 26. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray will oversee the proceedings. No other business can happen on the Senate floor during an impeachment trial. The Senate is likely to avoid the matter entirely as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) can move to either dismiss the two articles against Mayorkas or refer them to the committee level, effectively tabling the process.

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