The House could vote on a stopgap spending bill next week to give the Senate plenty of time to approve the measure before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, according to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer.
“I want to put it on the floor next week,” Hoyer, D-Md., said Monday in an interview with CQ Roll Call. “I want to give the Senate at least a week to pass it. I want to make sure government doesn’t shut down.”
That gives congressional leaders and the White House just a few days to wrap up negotiations on details of the continuing resolution, which is needed to avert a partial government shutdown starting Oct. 1. None of the dozen fiscal 2021 appropriations bills have yet become law.
Hoyer's timeline makes sense given a truncated congressional schedule the following week in the run-up to the shutdown deadline. The House and Senate are each out of session for the Yom Kippur holiday on Monday, Sept. 28, with the House returning only at 6:30 p.m. for votes that following Tuesday. The Senate is not back until Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House earlier Monday that negotiators were trying to wrap up talks this week on the stopgap measure. He and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., previously agreed to keep the CR clean of contentious riders, including coronavirus aid provisions.
“We have an agreement that it will be a clean CR. Having said that, the details of the clean CR have to be worked out. And I hope we can finish that this week,” Mnuchin said.
The Appropriations committees have been working to reach agreement on "anomalies," or special funding adjustments, for more than a week while leadership debates the finer points of how long the stopgap bill should last.
Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., want the temporary measure to last into December, while some Democrats want the bill to last into early next year.
Hoyer said the length of the resolution is “still under discussion,” as leaders decide “do we want to have a logjam at the end of the year, or do we want to go over to the following year.”
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., has said he’d prefer the CR last until March, though Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters an official position hasn’t yet been formulated.
Hoyer also said certain expiring authorizations will need to be added to the temporary funding bill, including for surface transportation programs and the National Flood Insurance Program. The White House requested that Congress add those extensions, among others, to the CR in a document submitted to lawmakers earlier this month.