Congressional leaders this week announced an agreement on top line government funding allocations, but may consider a very short-term Continuing Resolution to hash out the specifics of individual appropriations bills.

Current funding expires in two phases. Congress in November passed a two-part CR that extends funding for Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Energy and Water through January 19. Separately, the other eight appropriations bills – Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and State and Foreign Operations – expire on February 2.

The House has passed seven of its 12 individual appropriations bills, while the Senate has passed just three that were packaged into a “minibus.”

Most of the bills the House has passed have set spending levels below that of the debt limit and spending deal agreed to by Congress in the White House earlier last year. The agreement announced this week indicated Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have accepted overall spending levels closer to those found in the Senate versions of each appropriations bill than the House-passed versions.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus have repeatedly requested that the House pass its appropriations bills individually, not packaging them into one larger package known as an “omnibus.” Congressional leaders have not indicated how they plan to move forward, whether with votes on each individual bill or to package them together in an omnibus.

In addition to support from Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and President Biden have also publicly supported the top line funding levels.

Appropriations Committee leaders from each chamber are now working to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of each bill within the overall funding levels set by the agreement, but they may need more time to fully craft all of the bills and schedule floor time for passage. A short-term CR may be necessary.