Pence’s organization demands Congress release government funding agreement as deadlines loom

FIRST ON FOX: Former Vice President Mike Pence’s public policy think tank Advancing American Freedom urged congressional leaders on Tuesday to release the government funding agreement as the current temporary spending patch, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will expire the first week of March.

“Three weeks ago, your committees reached a private agreement on the 302(b) allocations for the next fiscal year. Since then, the American people have been kept guessing as to the negotiated funding levels for each of the twelve subcommittee appropriations bills,” executive director Paul Teller wrote in a letter to the House and Senate appropriations committees on Tuesday.

House and Senate leaders came together in mid-January to pass a CR to give themselves more time to hash out a deal for the rest of fiscal 2024.

It was the third CR passed since the previous fiscal year ended Sept. 30 and preserved funding for some agencies through March 1 and others through March 8.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Both chambers are currently in recess.

“The American people deserve transparency on the spending levels of their government as Congress looks to pass additional spending bills,” Teller told Fox News Digital in a statement. “With another deadline rapidly approaching, the American people and rank-and-file members are kept in the dark as to the true spending levels, and this needs to change. Advancing American Freedom is calling on these numbers to be immediately released to the American public.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed upon a top-line funding agreement of $1.66 trillion last month. That figure was part of an agreement mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act last year, a compromise reached during debt limit talks between President Biden and then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“Now, disconcerting rumors are swirling that the 302(b) allocations that were agreed upon blow out the already excessive $1.7 trillion Johnson-Schumer ‘cap,’ itself built on Speaker Pelosi’s COVID-19 level spending,” Teller wrote.

“Although it has become ‘business as usual,’ airdropping an appropriations package on Congress at the last second is no way to govern,” he wrote.

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Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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On the Senate floor, only three of the 12 appropriations bills have been passed.

“There isn’t a funding agreement to release,” a House appropriations aide told Fox News Digital. “The bills are still being negotiated.”

The CR continues funding for four appropriations bills through March 1: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration; Energy and Water Development; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Additionally, the CR allocates funding for the remaining eight appropriations bills through March 8: Commerce, Justice, Science; Defense; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior, Environment; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; Legislative Branch; and State, Foreign Operations.

The aim of having two separate deadlines is to prevent Congress from passing a comprehensive “omnibus” spending bill, a practice widely opposed by Republicans. 

However, the staggered approach may not eliminate the possibility of an omnibus as Congress will only have a few days to pass appropriations bills before the current CR expires. If they fail to either extend current funding levels or reach an agreement on new levels, the government could fall into a partial shutdown, with federal programs on pause and thousands of federal workers potentially furloughed.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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