Speaker Paul D. Ryan suggested Tuesday that the House will not bring appropriations bills to the floor without first passing a budget.
House Republicans have been struggling to find support from 218 of their members to pass a resolution that sets spending at $1.07 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and Ryan acknowledges it.
"Look, we want to do a budget," the Wisconsin Republican said in a news conference. "That’s very clear. The question is do we have the votes to pass a budget, and that’s the conversation we’re having with our members."
Asked if the House would move appropriations bills to the floor even if they don't pass a budget, Ryan said, “No, we need to do a budget.”
The law allows for the House to begin consideration of appropriations bills on May 15 in the event Congress has not passed a budget. That timeline could be accelerated if the House were to vote to waive that rule, but that does not appear to be a strategy GOP leaders are pursuing at the moment.
Ryan said the GOP conference had another "family discussion" Tuesday on the budget, but said no final decisions had been made. Ryan's spokeswoman Ashlee Strong said later that her boss was not ruling anything in or out.
“We gave the appropriators deadlines for floor consideration, accommodating our budget goals, which is mid April, which is the law," he said. "We’re still proceeding on that plan, hopefully getting a budget."
Asked how appropriators could report bills out of committee given the opposition to the top-line funding level of $1.07 trillion, Ryan said, "I don’t know the answer to that question yet."
The appropriations committee is preparing to move forward should that answer materialize, he said.
"The appropriators aren’t going to wait around and then be caught flat footed without their work done," Ryan said. "So the appropriators are getting their work done, getting ready to bring bills to the floor, should we – are we able to pass a budget."
Paul Krawzak contributed. Contact McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.