US House Republicans set to debate 2024 defense spending next week

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider fiscal 2024 defense spending legislation next week, Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on Friday.

The Republican-controlled House, which returns to Washington on Tuesday from its August recess, will consider an appropriations bill covering defense spending, according to Scalise's weekly floor schedule.

Action on spending legislation would allow Republicans to demonstrate progress on government funding, after weeks of impasse over hardline demands that discretionary spending be cut to a fiscal 2022 level of $1.47 trillion.

But Republican lawmakers said the party remains split over other appropriations bills, as well as an expected short-term stopgap measure to keep federal agencies operating when current funding expires on Sept. 30.

"Next week will be interesting - maybe not necessarily in a great way - as everybody on our side tries to figure out what a path forward looks like," Republican Representative Kelly Armstrong told Reuters.

The spending level sought by hardliners is $120 billion lower than what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden agreed to earlier this year.

The House and Democratic-led Senate each need to pass 12 appropriations bills for the 2024 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and then negotiate compromise legislation that Biden can sign into law. The full House has passed only one bill so far, while the full Senate is expected to begin considering three measures on Monday.

The two chambers are far apart on funding, with the Senate pursuing spending at the level set by McCarthy and Biden.

A separate stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, would give lawmakers additional time to iron out their differences over spending by providing temporary funding.

(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Rami Ayyub, Rosalba O'Brien and Leslie Adler)