Updated 3:09 p.m. | Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the "cromnibus."
They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.
GOP leaders called a recess to floor proceedings, with a GOP leadership aide confirming "no conference meeting [is] planned at this time." The aide said "leadership teams are still talking to their respective members," and noted, "We still plan to vote this afternoon."
It's not clear, however, what they will be voting on.
If Republicans can't resolve the impasse, they could decide to proceed with trying to swiftly move a short-term continuing resolution through the chamber that the Senate could also pass before 11:59 p.m., when current funding expires.
But House GOP leadership may have few other options. After barely winning a procedural vote to bring the spending bill to the floor for full debate and consideration, they realized they were in peril of not having enough votes for passage. Too many Republicans were prepared to vote "no" because the Feb. 27 sunset date for Department of Homeland Security funding was not enough to pacify concerns the cromnibus contained no language to explicitly bar President Barack Obama from implementing his immigration executive orders.
Hopes that Democrats would be able to make up for the short-fall have also dimmed as the minority party fought back "poison-pill" policy riders rolling back the financial regulatory overhaul laws from the Dodd-Frank Act and loosening some campaign finance rules .
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defied the White House's call to pass the cromnibus during a scathing floor speech, in which she said she was "enormously disappointed" with the administration.
Republican aides told CQ Roll Call that part of the reason for the recess was to give Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer a chance to whip votes on the Democratic side. A Hoyer aide denied this was the cause, saying House Democratic leadership is not whipping votes one way or another.
Meanwhile, the White House is making the rounds to Democratic members to find some support, while Pelosi continued her campaign against the bill.
In a letter to colleagues sent Thursday afternoon, she continued to crow over Democrats' leverage.
"It is clear from this recess on the floor that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus. This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision," Pelosi wrote. "However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill."
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