Congress Aims to Avert Shutdown as Funding Package Advances

FMCSA to Receive Nearly $1 Billion in Fiscal 2024 if Bill Signed Into Law
Chuck Schumer
"We now have six strong appropriations bills that include aggressive investments in American families, moms and kids, veterans, workers and more,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said March 6. (Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg News)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

The U.S. Department of Transportation and other agencies will operate without interruptions under a funding agreement Congress is expected to clear for the Biden White House this month.

Ahead of a March 8 deadline, the U.S. House of Representatives easily advanced a $467.5 billion, six-bill package for fiscal 2024. Senate leaders anticipate voting on passing the comprehensive bill in time to avoid a partial lapse in federal funding.

The legislative package is the result of lengthy bipartisan bicameral negotiations, which, if enacted, would keep agencies operating through Sept. 30.

“The appropriations process hasn’t been easy in divided government, but after a lot of hard work, late nights and persistence, we now have six strong appropriations bills that include aggressive investments in American families, moms and kids, veterans, workers and more,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said March 6. “And we prevented any devastating cuts or poison pills pushed by the hard-right.”

Days earlier, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) shared his perspective on the funding agreement his team reached with their counterparts. “Even with divided government and a historically small House majority,” the speaker observed, “House Republicans have worked hard to successfully move the policy and spending priorities of the federal government away from the previous [Nancy] Pelosi-Schumer [fiscal year 2023 funding] appropriations, and American taxpayers will benefit from it.”

Mike Johnson


The Biden White House expressed support for the multibill fiscal 2024 legislation, which was assigned the number H.R. 4366. “This bipartisan legislation represents a compromise, and neither side got everything it wanted, but it would prevent a damaging shutdown of several key agencies, protect key priorities and make progress for the American people,” according to the Office of Management and Budget’s view of the measure on March 5. “H.R. 4366 includes important investments that advance a range of key national priorities, building on the progress that has been made over the past three years both in annual appropriations and through legislation like [the] Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law.”

FMCSA logo

For transportation agencies, the measure would provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s grants system and operational programs $927.3 million. Specific to an apprenticeship for commercial drivers ages 18-20, the bill would deny funding for inward-facing cameras and would not require that a motor carrier be enrolled in the Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program as conditions for participating. The bill also would deny funds for enforcing electronic logging device regulations associated with the commercial transport of livestock.

Funding for other agencies includes:

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

Relatedly, congressional leaders are negotiating the final terms of funding levels for defense-related agencies. Funding authority for the Pentagon and these other agencies expires March 22. The top Democrat on the House funding panel signaled a willingness to reach an agreement on funding the remaining agencies.

“We are relieving American families of burdensome inflation, and we are looking out for the most vulnerable with full funding for programs like nutrition assistance. We invest in green energy and climate research, protect women from government intrusion into their reproductive health-care decisions, and reaffirm our commitments to supporting America’s war heroes,” said House Appropriations Committee ranking member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). “I look forward to releasing and passing the remaining 2024 funding bills soon.”