Democrats in both chambers have been pushing to replace the CR in Rogers’ bill with as many as 10 new spending bills, which would also provide fresh instructions.
“I am pleased the Republican majority is finally advancing the long-delayed appropriations process,” said New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. “I am disappointed, however, the proposal would lock most of the federal government into outdated plans and spending levels.”
So far, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has publicly supported efforts by Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., to replace Rogers’ more restrictive package with one that would include 12 new bills and thus not need a CR.
Like Rogers’ measure, such an omnibus package of a dozen spending bills would offer agencies some tools to cope with the spending cuts under sequester, but it wouldn’t undo the cuts. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, a senior GOP appropriator, favors this approach.
It’s also possible Mikulski could add only a few of the less controversial spending bills to Rogers’ measure while proceeding with a simple CR to fund programs covered in the most contentious appropriations bills, such as the Labor-HHS-Education and Financial Services bills.
These two measures draw conservative ire as they contain some funding used to implement the 2010 laws overhauling health care (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) and financial services (PL 112-203).
The conservative Club for Growth is considering counting the CR as a key vote against members if GOP leadership doesn’t allow a change in the Rogers bill that would specifically block any funds from being used to help implement the 2010 health care overhaul.
Although that may not be enough to derail the CR’s passage in the House, it may dampen enthusiasm for bringing up in the chamber a Senate-passed omnibus containing a new Labor-HHS-Education bill.
Senate Democrats also could opt to simply add a few more anomalies to Rogers’ CR, while still keeping within the budget cap.
And the CR also blocks funding for some programs. Congress provided $12 million in fiscal 2012 for the Presidio Trust Fund , intended to be the last appropriations to help fund the park on San Francisco Bay that once was a military site. Without an anomaly, continuing fiscal 2012 appropriations through a CR would automatically have provided funds for this purpose.
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.