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House Watching for 'Poison Pills' as Senate Turns to Continuing Resolution

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Inhofe talks with Lee, center, and Cruz in the Senate Radio and TV Gallery shortly before a vote to delay funding for the implementation of the health care overhaul.

Budget hawk Coburn said he did not object to including the additional spending bills that Senate Democrats inserted into the fiscal 2013 package, given that CRs are seen as a poor way to manage programs at federal agencies. “That kills the agencies,” the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said.

The seven remaining bills will be covered by a continuing resolution, and the Senate is adding a larger number of spending exceptions, or anomalies, than the House version included.

“There are many anomalies that are very positive, and there are some aspects of it that we don’t support, but overall it is better than the CR that passed the House,” said Nita M. Lowey of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

But McCain said he was developing amendments building on his complaints Tuesday that the bill is filled with spending that authorizing committees had sought to eliminate and that had been revived by appropriators. He said he would seek riders to strike funding for a wastewater treatment facility and other projects in Guam, funding set aside for native Hawaiian-owned contractors and $15 million in funding for the Civil Air Patrol.

“We’re giving additional funding to the Civil Air Patrol. Meanwhile, the Air Force is cutting back on their flying hours,” McCain said.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he planned an amendment that would put limits on foreign aid for Egypt. “We’ve been interested all along in saying that we shouldn’t be sending money to Egypt under these conditions,” Paul said.

Several other senators want to use the CR to give more federal agencies greater flexibility to cushion the effect of spending cuts under sequester. It’s unclear how far they could go with such amendments, however, before provoking a backlash over the bill’s scale.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said she intended to pursue her amendment aimed at giving intelligence agencies the same flexibility the CR provides the Pentagon to deal with cuts to its operations and maintenance accounts.

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