House GOP eyes short term spending bill to avoid shutdown

House Republicans huddled behind closed doors on Friday to map out their strategy for passing an omnibus spending bill before the September 30 deadline.

The consensus that appears to be emerging is to draft a short term bill that would fund the government through December 15. 

But a small group of conservatives, backed by the Freedom Caucus, are pushing for a bill that would fund the government through the middle of April.

Politico:

The at-times contentious conference meeting comes just weeks before the government runs out of money on Sept. 30. Republican leaders are adamant that they will not allow the government to shut down in what's proving to be a tough election year for the GOP with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

Still, Ryan and his top lieutenants, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Whip Steve Scalice (R-La.) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), are seeking a path that will garner the support of a majority of his GOP conference. And Friday morning’s meeting showed they still have some work to do.

Ryan opened up the session by going through the pros and cons of both a three-month and six-month continuing resolution. He also floated the idea of passing "mini-bus" spending packages, clustering two or three agency funding bills together at once, rather than a massive omnibus that combines 12 bills to fund the government.

“There’s a realization within the conference that an omnibus is not popular,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters after the meeting. “The idea is to try to do a few mini-buses that are bite-sized appropriations that we can digest and look at carefully.”

Many lawmakers exiting the meeting liked the pitch, though the conference was not completely unified.

"Some people are for a short-term, some people are for a long term," said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who noted he personally liked the mid-December plan.

"There is nothing good that is going to come out of a funding bill in the lame duck session," said conservative Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), echoing concerns held by the House Freedom Caucus. They fear leadership will negotiate an expensive $1 trillion year-end spending package favorable to Democrats. That's the principle reason conservatives say they want to punt into next year.

Congressional Democrats and the White House back the short term bill. They believe the GOP will be in a weaker position after the election, giving them more leverage over lame duck Republicans.The Republican leadership, on the other hand, think that the short term bill would give them a better hand to play in a longer term spending bill that they would like to pass in December.

Many Republicans want to attach policy riders to the CR, including an amendment that would ban Syrian refugees and another that would halt the administration's conversion of the internet. These provisions are less likely to pass in a longer term spending bill.

Historically, the shorter term CR's have somewhat restrained government spending while the longer term measures break the bank. Any way it turns out, the government deficit is going to soar in the next year thanks to the inability of Congress and the reluctance of the president, to control spending.


 

House Republicans huddled behind closed doors on Friday to map out their strategy for passing an omnibus spending bill before the September 30 deadline.

The consensus that appears to be emerging is to draft a short term bill that would fund the government through December 15. 

But a small group of conservatives, backed by the Freedom Caucus, are pushing for a bill that would fund the government through the middle of April.

Politico:

The at-times contentious conference meeting comes just weeks before the government runs out of money on Sept. 30. Republican leaders are adamant that they will not allow the government to shut down in what's proving to be a tough election year for the GOP with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

Still, Ryan and his top lieutenants, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Whip Steve Scalice (R-La.) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), are seeking a path that will garner the support of a majority of his GOP conference. And Friday morning’s meeting showed they still have some work to do.

Ryan opened up the session by going through the pros and cons of both a three-month and six-month continuing resolution. He also floated the idea of passing "mini-bus" spending packages, clustering two or three agency funding bills together at once, rather than a massive omnibus that combines 12 bills to fund the government.

“There’s a realization within the conference that an omnibus is not popular,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters after the meeting. “The idea is to try to do a few mini-buses that are bite-sized appropriations that we can digest and look at carefully.”

Many lawmakers exiting the meeting liked the pitch, though the conference was not completely unified.

"Some people are for a short-term, some people are for a long term," said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who noted he personally liked the mid-December plan.

"There is nothing good that is going to come out of a funding bill in the lame duck session," said conservative Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), echoing concerns held by the House Freedom Caucus. They fear leadership will negotiate an expensive $1 trillion year-end spending package favorable to Democrats. That's the principle reason conservatives say they want to punt into next year.

Congressional Democrats and the White House back the short term bill. They believe the GOP will be in a weaker position after the election, giving them more leverage over lame duck Republicans.The Republican leadership, on the other hand, think that the short term bill would give them a better hand to play in a longer term spending bill that they would like to pass in December.

Many Republicans want to attach policy riders to the CR, including an amendment that would ban Syrian refugees and another that would halt the administration's conversion of the internet. These provisions are less likely to pass in a longer term spending bill.

Historically, the shorter term CR's have somewhat restrained government spending while the longer term measures break the bank. Any way it turns out, the government deficit is going to soar in the next year thanks to the inability of Congress and the reluctance of the president, to control spending.