House Republicans on Wednesday released a five-day continuing resolution (CR) giving Congress until Dec. 16 to clear a year-end omnibus funding the federal government.
With the two parties still at loggerheads over dozens of contentious policy riders, the House and Senate will need to pass the stopgap by Friday to avert a government shutdown.
“While progress is being made on negotiations for a full-year omnibus appropriations bill, it is clear that more time is needed to complete the package,” House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
President Obama would sign the new CR “only to give Congress enough time to pass budget,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a Twitter chat.
Rogers said it is his “hope and expectation” that a final agreement on a $1.1 trillion omnibus can be reached and enacted before Dec. 16. He also expressed confidence the fiscal 2016 spending bill would not slip into calendar 2016.
While lawmakers acknowledged that negotiators still have a long way to go to strike a deal, they appeared more optimistic than in recent days, reported CQ Roll Call.
Party leaders are negotiating the most controversial riders, including language addressing the certification process for Syrian refugees, a provision to block a federal rule protecting wetlands and waterways, and a rider inspired by the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case related to health care coverage of abortion-related services.
Democrats are seeking to keep the omnibus spending bill as “clean” of controversial add-ons as possible, while the GOP is intent on using the measure to achieve the party’s policy goals.
“There’s a lot of unresolved issues,” Roger told reporters. Some issues are “being handled by leadership and then a whole host of others will be considered at the committee level. So we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We are making progress.”