FY23 Wrap Up: FY23 Spending Bills and NDAA Summaries
Congress passed the $1.7 trill omnibus FY23 spending package on December 23, 2022. SCA Summaries of the spending bills are below. More details on the bills, including the joint explanatory statement and bill summaries from the committees can be found HERE.
The Congress passed the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act on December 15, 2022. SCA Summaries of the NDAA and the Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Bill for 2022 can be found below. More details on the bills, including the joint explanatory statement and bill summaries from the committees can be found HERE.
118th Congress Update
As of the writing of this update, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the presumptive leader of the new House Republican caucus, has failed to secure the Speaker’s gavel after 11 ballots. The House is scheduled to gavel in today, where the chamber will resume consideration of nominating the Speaker of the House. Until a Speaker is selected, the House cannot conduct regular business, including adopting rules to govern the body, swear in members-elect nor hire staff to conduct the business of the chamber.
Kevin McCarthy and his conservative opponents have reached a tentative breakthrough after a days-long standoff, giving the California Republican’s speaker bid a needed momentum boost. Conservatives will get more time to look over the details after Republicans agreed to adjourn the House until noon today (Friday, January 6th, 2023). But it’s a sign of life for McCarthy, who has struggled to show public strength after three days of 11 speaker ballots that have seen him fail to flip any of his opponents.
Reports are emerging that McCarthy has potentially reached a deal that would include a budget resolution that would cap spending at FY2022 levels, including defense spending which would be of significant concern.
Importantly, while it will get McCarthy closer, it is unlikely the agreement will be enough to get him the votes he needs to win the speakership. Twenty Republicans have been routinely opposing McCarthy on the floor, leaving him more than a dozen votes short of where he needs to be to win the House's top gavel. McCarthy will need to flip most of those votes without alienating centrists and institutionalists, who worry that he is giving away too much.
The possible deal comes after several hours of negotiations with McCarthy’s detractors and less than a day after the GOP leader made an offer that conceded to basically all of their demands — including making it easier to boot a speaker.
Republicans are weighing trying to adjourn through Friday or the weekend as they face likely absences from their own members. And leadership is hoping that their nascent deal with conservatives will help corral support for taking that break.
The GOP is already missing one member: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) missed the ninth ballot after traveling back to his home state for a “planned non-emergency medical procedure.” Buck's office said the lawmaker would be out most of Friday.
The tentative breakthrough comes as McCarthy's allies have spent most of Thursday trying to figure out if the glimmers of hope over the potential deal are just a mirage. In a slim majority, he can’t afford to alienate the other side of his conference, where centrists and institutionalists already have heartburn over the proffered deal.
Senate Armed Services Leaders Warn Biden of AUKUS Risks
In a letter dated December 21, 2022, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-RI) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) sent a warning shot to President Joe Biden over concerns that the AUKUS trilateral security agreement could imperil America’s submarine fleet.
“Over the past year, we have grown more concerned about the state of the U.S. submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [nuclear sub] end state,” said the letter sent to the White House. “We believe current conditions require a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the U.S. submarine industrial base to the breaking point.”
“We are concerned that what was initially touted as a ‘do no harm’ opportunity to support Australia and the United Kingdom and build long-term competitive advantages for the U.S. and its pacific allies, may be turning into a zero-sum game for scarce, highly advanced U.S. SSNs,” the two lawmakers continue, explicitly warning against any plan to sell or transfer Virginia-class submarines to Australia before the US Navy has met its current requirement.
At the time the letter was sent, Reed and Inhofe were the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of the four key congressional panels overseeing the Pentagon. While Inhofe has since retired, Reed remains the SASC chairman in the new Congress — and hence remains one of the most influential voices on defense issues on the hill, with oversight on the AUKUS discussion.
AUKUS refers to the security pact announced in September 2021 between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The highlight of the agreement involves the US and UK sharing highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology with their ally down under, so that Australia can develop and operate nuclear-powered submarines, or potentially receive American Virginia-class subs outright. Leaders of the three countries said at the time their respective governments would spend 18 months on a preliminary planning phase before advancing the agreement; that initial consultation period is scheduled to end in March.