House Passes Stopgap CR as Shutdown Fears Grow
Updated: 3:04 p.m.
The House passed a one-week stopgap spending bill on Thursday that would fund the Department of Defense through the end of September — but the bill is likely to hit a wall in the Senate.
Thanks to the inclusion of a rider that bars the District of Columbia from using federal and local revenues for abortion services, the House measure is unlikely to make it out of the Senate unchanged. President Barack Obama has also issued a veto threat against the bill.
The bill, agreed to by a largely partisan 247-181 vote, would also cut discretionary spending by $12 billion. However, because the Defense portion of the bill includes $6 billion in additional spending, the total cuts to the federal budget would be roughly $6 billion.
Republicans also beat back an effort by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) to pass a straight one-week continuing resolution that would maintain current spending levels.
The vote comes as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) continue to try to work out a deal on a long-term measure funding the government through the end of September. Boehner and Reid met again at the White House on Thursday afternoon with Obama but emerged with no agreement. Negotiators on the Hill are continuing to meet, and both leaders are heading back to the White House at 7 p.m.
“It’s not easy to do, but it’s doable,” Reid said on getting a deal as he left the White House meeting.
Earlier Thursday, both leaders expressed skepticism that they can complete a deal before a government shutdown happens at midnight Friday.
“We made some progress. Or at least I thought we did. But when I see what the White House has to offer today, it’s more of the same,” Boehner told reporters.
Reid blamed Boehner for the slowdown in negotiations. When asked if he was concerned that Boehner had little desire to come to an agreement, Reid said, “Yes I am.”
“We have bent, bent, bent as much as the caucus will bend,” Reid said, blaming the tea party for scuttling the talks and pushing for a shutdown.
“They are cheering for it,” Reid said.
He added that House leaders “changed their tune completely” overnight and that talks broke down Thursday morning on women’s health and clean air. “They know it, we know it,” Reid said, adding that Boehner can “stretch things all he wants,” but the truth is those two issues are holding everything up.
Majority Whip Dick Durbin said negotiators were “working on a list of agreeable riders.”
“And there are some — some that I may not be all together happy with, but in an effort to find a compromise, I’m open to that negotiation,” the Illinois Democrat said.
Durbin said just two riders — a ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood and a ban of the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gasses — were the only ones causing a breakdown in talks at the moment. He declined to comment on how many riders were under consideration and could possibly make it into a final agreement.
Asked whether he believed Boehner was publicly holding out on a deal in part to appease tea partyers, Durbin said, “I sincerely hope so.”
“We are down so close,” he said. “To think that we would let this thing fall apart over two political issues … for goodness sakes, let’s get the government up and functioning.”
Durbin said he hoped the Senate would not have to be in session over the weekend to finalize the deal but acknowledged that was a possibility.
Boehner, however, dismissed those claims. “There’s far more than one policy provision holding up any agreement, I can tell you that,” he said.
Steven T. Dennis and Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.