Congressional appropriators agreed to a $1 trillion deal to fund the federal government through the end of 2012 late tonight, in principle narrowly averting a government shutdown.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said that he hoped to vote on the bill Friday, validating the predictions of appropriators who earlier in the day were confident the measure could be on the floor before the end of the workweek, when the current continuing resolution expires.
“I am hopeful that the House and Senate can pass this bill tomorrow to prevent a government shutdown, fund critical programs and services for the American people, and cut spending to help put the nation’s finances on a more sustainable path,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. “In spite of many unnecessary obstacles, it is good to see that responsible leadership and good governance can triumph.”
Leaving his office late tonight, Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye said that he too had signed on to the conference report.
The House Rules Committee was expected to vote on a rule to bring the bill to the floor this evening.
House Appropriations ranking member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) said he would support the bill and touted Democrats’ role in removing dozens of contentious policy riders from the finished product.
In the end, Democrats won concessions on a rider that would have reinstated restrictions on travel to Cuba, which President Barack Obama relaxed in 2009. Democratic appropriators had singled out the rider as the final sticking point before they would agree to advance the bill.
“These contentious policy riders had no place in our annual appropriations bills, and it was encouraging that we were able to remove nearly all of them from the final version of this bill,” Dicks said. “While the final bill may not be perfect, it nevertheless reflects a compromise that clearly resulted from the direct involvement of all of the ranking Democratic members, and thus I intend to support it.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.