House Republicans Introduce 5-Day CR as Negotiations Continue
House Republicans introduced a continuing resolution on Wednesday that would fund the government for an additional five days past when current funding runs out on Friday.
The question now is whether those five days will fall within Democrats’ demands for a CR that lasts only a “few days.”
Obama Would Sign Short-Term CR to Avoid Shutdown
House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers told reporters that there are dozens of potential riders to the omnibus still being negotiated. L
eadership is negotiating some of the more contentious riders, like language addressing the certification process for Syrian refugees and a conscious clause provision related to abortions.
Democrats have already said that abortion language in any deal is a non-starter.
Democrats are lining up behind President Barack Obama, who has said he won’t sign a CR that goes more than a few days. White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Obama’s position on Wednesday, saying “This can be solved in advance of the deadline if Republicans abandon that [policy rider] strategy.”
At the same time, Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, said decisions still need to be made on the main points of disagreement on the omnibus.
Here’s the latest:
The move to advance a CR through Dec. 16, means it’s likely the omnibus will need to be ready for House passage Monday, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the opportunity to set up a debate-limiting cloture vote for early Wednesday.
Then, assuming senators do not consume all of the 30 hours of post-cloture debate, the Senate could move to clear the measure before the new deadline.
5:17 p.m.: Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, tells reporters he expects Democrats to vote for the short-term CR to buy time to pass an omnibus.
5:10 p.m.: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announces to members the House will be in Friday but not over the weekend as GOP leadership in both chambers had warned on Tuesday. McCarthy says he will make a determination whether the House will reconvene on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the status of negotiations over the weekend.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers announces he has introduced a CR to fund the government for five days, until midnight on Dec. 16 that would maintain existing funding levels.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., says he thinks policy issues that have garnered bipartisan support in the past, like blocking the Waters of the United States rule, are the most likely to survive as riders on the omnibus.
“I think there’s confidence that we’ll get a deal in the end,” he says.
House Republicans will discuss the status of omnibus negotiations during a Thursday conference meeting in which they’ll also elect at-large members to the Steering Committee, Cole says.
Lowey exits Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s office and says decisions still need to be made on the main points of disagreement on the omnibus. She doesn’t answer a question about what those decisions are.
“I think if we all sit down and face reality we can probably come to some conclusion,” Lowey says.
Asked about a short-term CR, Lowey says the White House is not going to allow anything that lasts for more than a couple days.
1:42 p.m.: President Barack Obama will not sign a stopgap spending measure that gives lawmakers more time to hammer out a year-end omnibus spending deal, Earnest tells reporters, adding members have had “ample time” to beat a Dec. 11 deadline.
“The president is not going to sign a continuing resolution that gives them additional weeks and months to come up with an agreement,” Earnest says. “This can be solved in advance of the deadline if Republicans abandon that [policy rider] strategy.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., exits Reid’s office Wednesday afternoon and tells reporters, “We do think that there’s a path forward to getting this done and we have tried to smooth that path.”
Pelosi declines to comment on specific obstacles in negotiations for the government spending package. She says she might address the media later today.
She said a short-term CR to keep the government funded would be “very short,” pointing out that the president made it clear he would sign a short CR.
Asked about the tax extender package, Pelosi says, “I have serious concerns about the side of the package. The fact that they want to put big oil into it now just makes matters worse. So we’re going to have to see what we can negotiate.”
Rogers tells reporters that there are dozens of potential riders to the omnibus still being negotiated. He said it remains to be seen exactly when negotiations will conclude and omnibus will ready for a vote but said negotiations will not spill into next year.
Rogers says leadership is negotiating some of the more contentious riders, like language addressing the certification process for Syrian refugees and a conscious clause provision related to abortions. Still, some issues remain in the hands of the committee, he said.
Leaders have not yet decided how long a continuing resolution will be needed to keep the government open past Friday, Rogers says. A vote on a short-term CR is not expected until Friday, he adds.
What is a CR anyway? Let David Hawkings explain!
1:10 p.m.: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, tells reporters negotiations were continuing on a tax extender package and that he was still hoping for a permanent extension of the cuts.
Asked if the idea of attaching extenders to the omnibus complicated things, Hatch said, “It’s all complicated. Every day is complicated.”
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, tells reporters the Senate was waiting on the House to act on an omnibus and tax extender package. The two packages being combined “
makes things a little more complicated.”
Cornyn says a short-term CR was still a possibility, noting that they “just need to make sure we keep things up and running.”
Asked about the omnibus negotiations, Cornyn says Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told him this morning riders were still “a sticking point” but declined to go into specifics.
He also wouldn’t comment on whether coupling the tax extenders with the omnibus package was a good idea, saying only that, “We just need to get it done.”
9:30 a.m.: Reps. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., say they’ll introduce a bill to eliminate a perk that provides former speakers with a government-funded office with up to three aides and say that the omnibus is a vehicle to do that. If not, they’ll try next summer.
The pair of conservatives who voted against John A. Boehner during the January floor vote to re-elect him say their bill is not designed to further attack the Ohio Republican. But they acknowledge that Boehner is in a position where he doesn’t need taxpayers’ money.
Kate Ackley, Bridget Bowman, George Cahlink, Sarah Chacko, Emma Dumain, Tamar Hallerman, Niels Lesniewski and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.
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