Pelosi Says War Bill to Pass Before July Fourth

Posted June 12, 2008 at 11:34am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she is “confident” Congress and the White House will sign off on a war supplemental bill before the July Fourth recess.

“I have made it clear to the White House” that Congress will advance a bill “the president can sign,” Pelosi told reporters.

With just two and a half weeks to go until the recess, the Speaker said party leaders “don’t have that much time left” to sort out their differences on what domestic spending items to include in the bill, and whether to offset their costs.

On top of war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, the bill is slated to include expanded GI benefits, “some measure of Medicaid fixes” and possibly an extension of unemployment benefits, Pelosi said.

But regardless of whether each of those items is in the final package and paid for, “we will have a bill to the president by then,” she said.

The Speaker said she is not interested in pingponging a bill back and forth between the House and Senate to work out the kinks. Instead, she said she is pressing for one-time passage of “lean legislation that is not overloaded” with unrelated items.

“I would hope Republicans in the Senate would support those priorities as well,” Pelosi said.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was involved in conversations last week about “moving a signable bill,” but has not been a part of any discussions this week.

“We could have cut this deal in five minutes,” said the GOP leader.

Boehner said negotiations are in part being held up because of infighting among Democrats. Some want to pass a clean war funding bill, while other “high-ranking” Democrats don’t, he said.