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Deal reached on framework for omnibus spending bill

Top appropriators say they have an agreement on the numbers needed to flesh out a final funding package by Christmas

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.,  walks to the Senate Democrats’ lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., walks to the Senate Democrats’ lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans have reached a topline spending agreement for a fiscal 2023 omnibus, three of the four top appropriators on Capitol Hill said late Tuesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement that negotiators had “reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the president.” 

Leahy said he cut the deal with House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Senate Appropriations ranking member Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., who released similar statements.

None disclosed the terms of the agreement, but it’s expected to set defense spending at $858 billion, which is in line with the annual authorizing bill the Senate is considering this week. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that negotiators were getting close on a deal that he said would be “broadly appealing” and set defense at the $858 billion level “without having to pay a bonus above what President Biden asked for, for domestic priorities of the Democrats.” 

The two sides had been $26 billion apart on the level of nondefense spending in recent days, with Republicans refusing to go above the topline level of President Joe Biden’s budget request, at $1.65 trillion. Democrats had been pushing for about $813 billion in nondefense spending, while Republicans had been proposing $787 billion. 

Democrats earlier had signaled a willingness to move toward the Senate GOP position to secure a deal before Republicans take control of the House next Congress.

DeLauro said in a statement that the deal provides a path forward for Congress to pass, and Biden to sign, an omnibus agreement next week. Current government funding runs out this Friday, but both chambers are expected to pass a one-week continuing resolution to give appropriators more time to finalize the details of each bill and pass the omnibus.

“Now, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will work around the clock to negotiate the details of final 2023 spending bills that can be supported by the House and Senate and receive President Biden’s signature,” DeLauro said. 

Shelby confirmed the topline agreement, but said that finalizing each of the 12 spending bills would be “difficult work.” 

“If all goes well, we should be able to finish an omnibus appropriations package by December 23rd,” he said.

House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, didn’t take part in the deal announcement.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is opposed to any omnibus package and there’s a broad view in his conference that they shouldn’t pass a final spending bill until next year after they’ve assumed control in that chamber.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., earlier Tuesday sent out a whip notice urging his side to vote against even the one-week CR, arguing they shouldn’t help set the table for an omnibus deal next week.

“This one-week continuing resolution is an attempt to buy additional time for a massive lame-duck spending bill in which House Republicans have had no seat at the negotiating table,” Scalise’s notice to Republicans said.

Granger staff couldn’t immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.

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