The House on Friday passed by voice vote a five-day continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 16, securing a little more time for congressional leaders and appropriators to finish negotiating an omnibus spending measure.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the five-day CR, which the Senate passed on Thursday. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said Friday that the omnibus negotiations are moving slowly but that they are still hoping to have a bill prepared by Dec. 14.
“Progress is snail-like, glacial in fact, so I hope and trust all parties are operating in good faith,” Rogers said, noting several differences on policy riders remain, as well as the issue of whether to attach the tax extenders package to the spending bill.
In another signal of how slow the negotiations are moving, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the House will not come into session next week until Dec. 15, as was previously scheduled.
Late last week, McCarthy warned the members of possible weekend work, and when he announced this week that wouldn't be needed, he left open the possibility the House could return on Dec. 14. But the timeline keeps slipping as negotiations continue at a slow crawl.
Rogers said there are still several dozen riders still in play but declined to discuss details of those outstanding issues.
“We’re having to wait to do the run-of-the-mill items of disagreement, we’re having to put those off until leadership resolves the big policy issues like whether or not you combine the tax bill with the omnibus and so on,” Rogers said. “So those large, widespread policy issues are being discussed among leadership and when those are concluding we can get back to the dozens of items of disagreement.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned that she and likely most of her members would not vote for the omnibus bill if the massive tax extenders package of permanent and temporary tax breaks is attached to it.
McCarthy said that as of now the House will consider tax extenders and the omnibus separately. “Currently, I think they’ll both go as separate measures, but no final decision has been made," he said.
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