Speaker Pelosi Pushes Fiscal 2023 Funding Bill in Lame Duck Session

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Before wrapping up her tenure as leader of the House Democratic caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged colleagues to advance a multibill package to keep the government running for most of next year.

This “omnibus” measure for fiscal 2023, which has yet to be considered in the post-election lame duck session, would be the legislative tool for averting a federal shutdown next week. Funding authority for most of the federal apparatus expires Dec. 16.

Pelosi’s team endorses her call to action ahead of the Republicans’ governing majority in January. Results from the November midterms propelled the GOP in the lower chamber.



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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

 "Passing an omnibus is our strong preference," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg News)

“Congress remains hard at work until late at night, last night, starting early this morning, on the omnibus funding package. It’s about taking us into the future,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) explained Dec. 1. “Passing an omnibus is our strong preference.”

The speaker’s recommendation of pursuing an omnibus coincides with her warnings about approving a short-term funding measure. A short-term bill, referred to as a continuing resolution, would delay comprehensive policy, she has argued.

Her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), echoed the perspective about proceeding with a multibill omnibus.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer

Schumer 

“Government funding is going to run out unless Congress acts to prevent a shutdown,” the senator said. “A continuing resolution, meanwhile, is horrible news for our troops in uniform because it will throw their families into great uncertainty and severely hinder their ability to keep America safe.”

The Biden White House has expressed optimism with regard to a bipartisan funding agreement during the lame duck. As press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre put it, “We were able to get this done in a bipartisan fashion just last year … and so we are confident that we will get this done.” Relatedly, the White House is requesting Congress include aid for Ukraine’s war effort in the lame duck funding package. Also, funding appropriators on Capitol Hill are evaluating what degree of emergency assistance to provide for hurricane recovery in Florida and Puerto Rico.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

McCarthy 

The congressional leadership for Republicans has been critical of certain spending priorities Democrats are pursuing. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), vying for the chamber’s speakership, endorsed a careful examination of the funding process. “I’m not for a blank check for anything,” McCarthy said shortly after a recent meeting at the White House. “This is hardworking taxpayer money, and I want to make sure whatever funding we spend goes to the right places.”

Various transportation stakeholders are asking Congress to approve an omnibus over a short-term continuing resolution. A fiscal 2023 bill would help prevent funding disruptions linked with the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the groups say.

In addition to fiscal 2023 funding negotiations, the congressional lame duck radar includes must-pass policy legislation related to the Department of Defense, consideration of executive nominations and a debate on debt limit borrowing authority.

The Week Ahead (all Times Eastern)

Dec. 6, 8 a.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center examines the 2022 elections.

Dec. 7, 9 a.m.: PunchBowl News interviews Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

Dec. 7, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets to consider transportation nominees.

Freight Corridor

An eye for ramping up the oversight at the House transportation panel next year.

Legislative Docket

Legislation targeting the theft and trafficking of catalytic converters recently was introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Sponsored by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ron Wyden of Oregon, the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act, would require catalytic converters to be marked with identification numbers on most vehicles. The bill’s aim is to assist law enforcement nationwide tasked with responding to the thefts of such devices.

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Klobuchar 

“Throughout the country, we’ve seen an alarming increase in catalytic converter thefts. These converters can be easily taken from unattended cars but are difficult and expensive for car owners to replace,” Klobuchar, a member of the Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over trucking policy, said this month. “By making catalytic converter theft a criminal offense and ensuring each converter can be easily tracked, our legislation would provide law enforcement officers with the tools and resources they need to crack down on these crimes.”

This year, Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.) introduced similar legislation. “In west-central Indiana and across the country, catalytic converter theft has had a dramatic impact on vehicle and business owners, leading them to await costly repairs with few tools to prevent similar crimes in the future,” Baird said in January. The congressman is the ranking member of the Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee. The House and Senate bills gained bipartisan backing while they each await consideration.

Buzz

Matters having to do with truck parking again are buzzing inside the Capitol. This month, a bill meant to improve such access for truck drivers nationwide was introduced in the Senate. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), aims to increase parking capacity as well as improve parking areas.

“Without safe truck parking, truckers spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for a place to park,” Lummis said, “putting truckers and Wyoming drivers at greater risk for accidents. This is easily solvable, and I am thankful to Sen. Kelly for joining me in finding a common-sense solution.”

Over the summer, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.). The House bill would provide transportation agencies funding for building or expanding such areas for commercial vehicles.

Favorite Video

They would like you to make the automobile a part of the family.

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Secretary Pete dishing with Drew.

The Last Word

This agency needs a Senate-confirmed leader.

Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Nov. 29 regarding Federal Highway Administration nominee Shailen Bhatt

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Shelly Moore Capito

We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. This column returns in January. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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