Politics

House Explores Omnibus Spending Package

Members asked to take weekend to read through 12 bills

Former House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers expressed support for an omnibus, 12-bill approach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are building momentum for a plan to pass a 12-bill omnibus appropriations package before the August recess, even as they continue to struggle to coalesce around a budget resolution that would normally precede the spending bills.

During a GOP conference meeting Friday, House leaders (minus Speaker Paul D. Ryan who was in Wisconsin dealing with flooding issues in his district) asked their members to take the weekend to read through the 12 appropriations bills the House Appropriations Committee has drafted.

Some of those bills have already been reported out of committee; the remainder are expected to be marked up next week.

When the House returns next week, the whip team will survey the conference to see if there’s support for the 12-bill omnibus strategy.

They’ll need a commitment from at least 218 Republicans to move forward with the plan, as Democrats are not expected to support the measure since many of the bills are full of GOP policy riders.

Several members leaving the conference meeting expressed optimism about the prospects of the House passing an omnibus measure that would serve as a marker for September negotiations with the Senate over a spending package.

“I like the idea, I think we got the support for it,” former Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said.

The Kentucky Republican said if members agree to the plan, leadership would like to pass the omnibus before the August break, which would mean the week of July 24, unless GOP leaders decide to delay the recess, as their Senate colleagues have.

Members were less certain that the conference could come together and support a budget resolution that has remained stalled for more than a month.

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black told reporters that she is still not ready to announce a markup on the budget but that “there is a possibility” one could be scheduled for next week.

“This is a very, very important budget,” the Tennessee Republican said. “It has a lot of moving parts to it, and we’re going to get it done.”

Several Budget Committee members said they were optimistic about the chances the markup will occur next week. 

Black noted that she has met with Vice President Mike Pence and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and that they are on board with her panel’s plan.

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