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As Omnibus Timeline Slips, House Preps Weekend Work

The House majority leader does not see an end in sight for negotiations on taxes and spending, increasing the likelihood that debate will slip long enough to need a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday he is "seriously looking" at keeping the House in on Friday and potentially over the weekend to finish up year-end business. The California Republican also indicated a short-term continuing resolution was possible to buy negotiators more time. McCarthy's comments came not long after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was unhappy at the prospect of Congress just carrying on current funding levels. "The fact is, the reason that we don't want to fund the government at current levels is because the budget agreement includes necessary and adequate funding for our national security," Earnest said. "Seems like a pretty bad time to be doing that." Earnest allowed that Obama might sign another stopgap measure into law, but that would only be in the event negotiators have an agreement that needs to work through the legislative process. Spending negotiations seemed to have hit a snag, or perhaps several, Monday as congressional leaders and appropriators signaled they would not have a bill ready that day as planned. Republicans and Democrats alike largely declined to specify what issues were delaying an agreement, but lawmakers last week were discussing several contentious matters they wanted to attach to the $1.1 trillion spending bill. Senior aides in both parties on both sides of the Rotunda have suggested the talks about how to deal with policy riders have not moved the ball forward much lately, and on Monday McCarthy went further in criticizing House Democrats for holding up the discussions. House Republican leadership has suggested House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her leadership team have not empowered Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the Appropriations panel, with the same power to negotiate as Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky. But it wasn't clear as of Monday afternoon exactly which of the slew of policy riders up for debate were at the heart of the problem. "The appropriators continue to take the lead on this process. Republicans should drop their insistence on poison pill riders and work with Democrats to keep government open," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in response to McCarthy's comments. Last week, Rogers said he hoped to have an omnibus bill drafted and ready to unveil at some point on Monday, which would have allowed the House to prepare for a midweek vote. But as of midday Monday, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Republican said only that negotiations were ongoing and an agreement was expected this week. John T. Bennett, Emma Dumain, Tamar Hallerman and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. Related:See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.