US House to pursue short-term measure for government funding

Republican House members said Thursday that they will propose a short-term spending package, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to keep the federal government funded until March 31, 2017, allowing the incoming White House administration immediate budget input starting in January.

The decision to offer a CR was reportedly announced by House Speaker Paul Ryan in a private meeting between the House GOP and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. President-elect Donald Trump is also believed to have advocated for the temporary measure, which will allow him to have influence over the rest of the budget for fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30.

Not all House and Senate Republicans agree with the approach, however, as a smaller GOP majority in Congress’ upper-chamber in 2017 will make passing a conservative package more of a challenge. The House Appropriations Committee has also been working with their Senate counterparts for several months now on 12 spending bills, most of which will likely be scrapped.

“It will be harder to pass an omnibus in March,” said Republican House committee member Charlie Dent (Pa.). “I’d rather clean the decks for a new administration. But apparently (they) would like to be able to put their imprint on this.”

A CR is also opposed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who prefers to see a more moderate budget pass before President Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017.

“They’re going to have a kettle of fish in March that they can’t even imagine,” Pelosi said, referring to the ambitious legislative agenda that the Trump transition team has signaled will be coming on the the president-elect’s first day in office. Those priorities include tax cuts and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“It will be a very busy first six months, and if you have to stop and finish last year’s business in the middle of that, it’s challenging,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who favors pursuing a full omnibus package in the lame-duck session.

In the meantime, President Obama has requested $11.6 billion more in funding for war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan before the budget deadline on Dec. 9. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (Ky.) called that particular spending measure “terribly important.”

“We want to be sure that our military has adequate resources during this interim period of time,” he continued. “So that’s under deep consideration.”

 

[Reuters] [Washington Post] [Politico] [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images via CNN Money]