A second continuing resolution (CR) may be in the works as the Dec. 11 deadline for clearing a fiscal 2016 omnibus to keep the federal government open quickly approaches.
On Tuesday House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he was open to passing a one-week stopgap if negotiators need more time to complete work on the $1.1 trillion spending package, reported CQ.
“I’m hopeful to get it all done and voted on by the 11th. If not, we’re here until the 18th and it won’t make any difference that we will get that done,” McCarthy told reporters.
The White House similarly signaled it would not block a short-term CR if it would allow lawmakers to finish hashing out the details for an omnibus.
At this point, negotiators still are aiming to reach a deal in time to meet the Dec. 11 deadline, according to the story. Appropriations staff and committee members worked through the Thanksgiving holiday to iron out remaining disputes, with discussions still continuing around the clock. A final bill likely won’t be released until next week, at the earliest.
While contentious policy riders appear to be the major obstacle, McCarthy dismissed the possibility of a government shutdown, even over an effort to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
“I do not hear people shutting the government down over it right now,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about efforts to strip federal funding from the organization. “I think security is becoming the top issue, especially [in] the last two weeks.”
Still, the majority leader acknowledged votes on policy amendments to the spending bill would be held. “For someone to say there’s not going to be riders … how do you write a bill that’s not a continuing resolution that doesn’t have riders?” McCarthy asked, reported the Hill. “I think that is just political banter that the minority party wants to play.”
The GOP is considering adding language to the omnibus from legislation that passed the House last month restricting the acceptance of Syrian refugees into the country.