A first minibus appropriations bill appears ripe for approval this week, even as the chances of a second measure are up in the air.
House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that "a substantial number of Democrats" would support the $128 billion measure, which will be voted on Thursday. And while some conservatives oppose a housing provision in the bill, Republicans so far don't think it will derail the bill's final passage. The measure includes a continuing resolution to fund the government through the week of Dec. 12.
"I think it's solid. I think we're going to be OK. You don't get everything you want in a split Congress," said Rep. Jack Kingston, an appropriator.
Still, the Georgia Republican acknowledged that the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America did not do the conference any favors Tuesday by announcing they would "key vote" the minibus bill. The two conservative groups oppose the appropriations measure because of its spending levels and language that would increase the size of mortgages backed up by the Federal Housing Administration.
"I don't know if that means we lose 30 Members or 55 or 60," Kingston said. "But those of us who have been really close to the process the last two weeks know we've struggled to get to where we are, and that's why Republicans and Democrats alike signed the conference report."
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers also said the key votes wouldn't kill the bill's chances on the floor, although he would not say whether it would pass with a majority of Republican votes.
"I think it's going to pick up bipartisan support. Hopefully, all Republicans will vote for it; I'm sure there will be some that will not," the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday. "But I think it will pass. It has to."
Last-minute fights over CR measures have popped up several times this year, although as Members look to next week's Thanksgiving recess, they are less focused on the minibus and are training more of their attention on the negotiations of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction. House Members were also on recess last week, and the Republican whip effort on the minibus just started Tuesday afternoon.
The first minibus of the year includes the Commerce, Justice and science appropriations bill; the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill; and the Agriculture, rural development, and Food and Drug Administration appropriations bill, along with the CR.
The measure has several goodies for conservatives, including the protection of some gun rights and a $103 million cut to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to prevent the implementation of provisions under the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law. Republican aides also boast that the measure defunds 20 "wasteful spending programs" that provide rank-and-file messaging fodder to tell constituents back home.
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