Debt CeilingLast week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen informed Congressional Leadership that the federal government had officially hit the debt limit. However, despite hitting the legal limit on how much money the U.S. federal government can borrow, the U.S. Department of Treasury has provided a description of “Extraordinary Measures” it will take to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations as Congress deliberates on how to raise the debt limit. The so-called “extraordinary measures” will provide Congress with a few months to come up with a legislative proposal to increase the current statutory debt limit level of $31.381 trillion.  

While the extraordinary measures from the Treasury Department will provide Congress with a few months of breathing room, much like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, an epic crescendo of policy priorities and mounting deadlines will potentially collide.  

Let’s break it down.  

Between now and September 30, 2023, Congress must pass the following major pieces of legislation:  

  • Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Agreement/Debt Limit 
  • Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations 
  • 2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization
  • 2023 FAA Reauthorization 

First on the docket will be an agreement on the Debt Limit and Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget Agreement. With a loosely phrased deadline of “several months” or “early June” from the Treasury Department, a closely divided Congress will have to agree on a compromise to raise the current $31.381 trillion in borrowing authority. 

Second, the House and Senate must pass 12 individual Appropriations bills, representing discretionary funding for FY 2024. Traditionally, the “appropriations season” begins in February with a series of hearings by relevant subcommittees of jurisdiction, with a full committee hearing in April, and potential floor consideration of individual appropriations bills or a package of bills before the August recess.  

Lastly, two authorization bills of importance to the equipment manufacturing industry are up this year, the farm bill and FAA reauthorization bill. Historically, both the farm bill and FAA reauthorization bills provide five years of funding, program authorities, and important legislative changes. In the case of both the farm bill and FAA reauthorization, the legislative proposals are rumored to take shape in, you guessed it, late spring/early summer. Both measures are set to expire on September 30, and will either need to be reauthorized or temporarily extended to by lawmakers more time to reach a compromise. 

Key takeaways:  

  • Congress has its work cut out for them with the passage of four major pieces of legislation;
  • The legislation at hand needs to avert defaulting on debt, fund the federal government, and authorize key programs that have important ramifications for the equipment manufacturing industry;
  • Springtime and summertime will be very, very busy. 

If you have questions about any of the upcoming legislative battles, please reach out to AEM’s Advocacy Team at

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more AEM news and updates.