The Topline:

The 302(b)s Knees: The Cardinals have their "bees" (302(b) subcommittee allocations) and have begun drafting their bills. Mostly, they are pretty happy to begin the work, even though some allocations are below FY23. There is still a long road ahead for these bills, which have to pass the House and Senate, and be signed into law, before the tiered funding deadlines on March 1st and 8th.

As appropriators will tell you, if left up to them, bills would be crafted, passed, and signed into law. But, in a presidential election year, any political mischief is possible. For instance, new policy riders could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for certain subcommittees and their respective bills. We know House Republicans have little leverage in getting controversial riders included in the bills.

If Congress cannot meet these next deadlines for any bill, those agencies will be looking at a CR for the remainder of FY24. We expect the final funding bills to be presented as 3 or 4 packages of "minibuses," rather than one omnibus.

Happy Groundhog Day: While we expect to see the border security/foreign aid supplemental appropriations language today, Senate Republicans are at odds about what to do. Senate Minority Leader McConnell stated for the first time on Wednesday the possibility that the Senate may drop the border agreement from the package. However, it is still unclear if a slimmed-down package could even pass the Senate, considering the growing GOP opposition to Ukraine funding.

Despite these setbacks, Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced on Thursday that the first vote on the package could take place as early as next Wednesday. Even if the supplemental package passes the Senate, it has even worse prospects in the House. Speaker Johnson spoke out against the border deal on the House floor Wednesday and many House Republicans are still firmly against any additional funding for Ukraine.

It is possible that the House could entertain a supplemental bill for Israel only – this time without the partisan IRS offset. A "clean" Israel bill would certainly put pressure on the Senate to vote yes, but would effectively be the nail in the coffin for additional Ukraine aid this year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.