Republicans Considering Funding Stopgap, Ryan Says

Extra time puts December holidays at risk

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., conducts his weekly news conference in the House studio on November 9, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

GOP leaders are considering a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded beyond December 8, Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday.

The stopgap measure is likely needed to buy leaders and appropriators more time to finalize an omnibus spending measure, which they are behind in negotiating. Leaders have yet to strike a deal on topline spending levels for fiscal 2018, which appropriators need before they can draft the omnibus.

“We’re not talking about going into next year, we’re talking about getting it done this year for many reasons, the military chief among them,” Ryan said of a short-term CR. “We might need a little more time to give the appropriators time to write their bill, but we don’t intend on going into next year.”

Pushing the appropriations deadline back means lawmakers may be in Washington closer to the December holidays. Ryan had previously threatened to keep members in town for Christmas if needed to pass the GOP’s tax overhaul bill. That extra time could still be needed for the House and Senate to work out the differences between their tax bills.

David Hawkings' Whiteboard Archive: What's a Continuing Resolution?

Rep. Ken Calvert said appropriators “may need a little extra time” before they can put together an omnibus spending bill. He expects a short-term continuing resolution will be needed, the California Republican said. It’s “unlikely” a new fiscal 2018 spending level will be reached and an omnibus passed before Congress leaves for its winter break, he said. 

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said he expects a new fiscal 2018 spending level soon, though probably not this week. “As soon as we get through the tax bill,” the New Jersey Republican said. 

Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.

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