Debt limit derails the rest of Congress’ must-pass agenda


The temporary backlog on Congress' other priorities, such as budget bills, a trillion-dollar farm package, and massive defense policy legislation, is being brought on by protracted negotiations to avert a catastrophic default.

monetary bundles. Agricultural Act. legislation for defense.

The remainder of Congress' must-pass agenda is suffering as a result of the knockout fight over increasing the debt ceiling, previously one of its most routine tasks.

Few individuals are involved in the conversations between the Biden administration and House Republicans. However, Washington's obsession with the sluggish negotiations, along with months of wrangling on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, has resulted in a legislative backlog.

Regarding some of the House's postponed objectives, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) commented, "It's very frustrating." But you can't do these things until you know how much money you have to work with, he continued, referring to prospective budget cuts in a debt deal.

That is not to imply that Congress has come to a complete stop. Behind the scenes, committee work is also being done. However, the disastrous ramifications of a debt default are so overwhelming that politicians' other deadlines, each of which could have equally devastating effects, appear far away, at least for the time being.

With party leaders on both sides attempting to pass an agreement before the default deadline on June 5, many Republicans are hopeful that the saga will conclude soon. However, several Republicans have publicly questioned whether the United States can raise its borrowing cap even further, maybe past June 15 or even into the summer.

That more ambiguous timetable sends GOP leaders into a different type of worry as they face significant deadlines this autumn on spending, Pentagon strategy, and the agricultural bill.

The Republicans' demand for a funding bill is the most obvious problem. In contrast to former years, when congressional leaders would put together a huge spending package largely behind closed doors, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has committed to passing all 12 measures on the floor, a task that will be especially challenging with a four-vote margin. But because of ongoing debt negotiations that might potentially determine funding totals, the House has yet to even begin any work on that procedure.

Instead, citing "recent developments" in the negotiations between McCarthy and President Joe Biden, House spending leaders last week postponed markups for four of their legislation. Republicans also worried that they lacked the necessary support to approve those bills because one GOP representative was not present.

"We didn't want to take attention away from the debt ceiling talks. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a senior member of the appropriations panel and McCarthy supporter, stated, "We don't need to be the center of attention and, once again, we need final figures.

And not just appropriators are beginning to perspire. With a deadline in December, the House Armed Services Committee now has a little more time to study its enormous annual policy bill for the Pentagon. And although while lawmakers intend to pass it by then for the 63rd consecutive year, some, particularly Democrats, have criticized the lengthy delay.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) remarked, "I think it sends really bad messages out there when it gets pushed back for other political reasons." "The message is that since we're attempting to address internal domestic concerns, the United States has taken its eye off the ball about national security. And I believe Russia and China can take advantage of that to attempt to sway people away from our partnership.

Talks on a prominent initiative to revoke authorizations for the Iraq War, which have blended with discussions on the annual package, have slowed down due to the big defense package's postponement.

This year's legislation on the subject was approved by the Senate. But the House still needs to resolve internal conflicts since some members favor a straightforward repeal while others, like Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas), have suggested replacing it by adding a more challenging revision of the 2001 authorization passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who favors eliminating the 2002 authorization and assisting in introducing the House's bill, admitted that the issue is probably going to be put on hold until the debt ceiling is raised: We must address the urgent concerns of the present.

He continued, "Until we deal with these true existential threats that we're dealing with, I'm just not all that interested in the press conferences... on all those other issues."

Another contentious topic is a contentious FBI monitoring program that is set to expire at the end of the year. However, lawmakers are aware that they need time to inform their colleagues, many of whom are going through the issue for the first time. A bipartisan group has continued to discuss behind-the-scenes ways to reauthorize the authority, known as Section 702. The talks' coordinator, Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), acknowledged that "the debt ceiling talks are keeping everybody busy right now."

Additionally, the $1 trillion agriculture bill package that was due this year has been delayed by the House and Senate. Key farm and nutrition programs will expire in September if nothing is done, and many politicians and staffers believe they will have to push back the deadline, possibly into the following year.

The farm bill this year, according to Lucas, a former House agriculture chair, will be particularly challenging given the significant economic developments over the last four years, including the recession, inflation, a trade war with China, and the conflict in Ukraine.

"And that's just the farm bill," he added. Consider everything else going on in this situation.

Contributing to this report was Connor O'Brien.

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