WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Congress only has until mid-November to pass a government funding plan. Right now, the Senate is out of town and the House is consumed with choosing a new speaker, which is causing concern about how lawmakers are going to pass a budget.
As Congress once again races the clock, several Republican senators are frustrated that they aren’t staying in session to work on funding bills.
“I think the Senate ought to be here next week working on the appropriations bills, because we have a short amount of time and a lot of work to get done,” Senator John Thune said.
Senate Leader Chuck Schumer sent lawmakers home early this week and didn’t cancel their scheduled recess for next week.
“There’s no excuse for burning two weeks out of the 45 days we just got last Saturday,” Senator John Cornyn said.
The House will be in session next week. But after former speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted, they have to spend time picking a new leader.
Congressman Dusty Johnson says that means everything else is stalled.
“That is grinding to halt the kind of very real necessary progress that our country needs to be working on,” Johnson said.
Despite the circumstances, many lawmakers insist government funding is their top focus, and say negotiations are ongoing.
Senator Tim Kaine says even while lawmakers are out of town staff at the capitol are having budget discussions.
“We’re working on the budget even as we are on recess,” Kaine said. “Work to close the gaps and get these budget bills done by November 17th, they are going on as we speak.”
Senator Schumer says they’ve already made progress.
“We have passed 12 bills out of committee, bipartisan appropriations bills. And now we are working to get those bipartisan bills to the floor of the Senate,” Schumer said.
With such a limited window, Senator Cornyn argues they need to vote on those bills soon.
“I hope the majority leader will quit wasting time, and allow the Senators to do the work we were sent here to do,” Cornyn said.