Shelby says to expect another stopgap funding bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee chairman said that barring a "miracle," another continuing resolution -- perhaps lasting until March -- is in the cards.

Senator Richard Shelby at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing on the DoD fiscal year 2017 budget request Apr. 27, 2016. (Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)
 

Another stopgap funding bill likely will be needed to keep the government open into next year.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters that a second continuing resolution to replace the one that's expiring on Nov. 21 could last until February or March.

"Unless a miracle happens around here with the House and Senate, we will have to put forth another CR," Shelby told reporters on Oct. 23, according to multiple press accounts.

There are factors involving the pace of the Senate's funding process at issue, as well as the inability of appropriators to agree internally on funding levels for the 12 individual appropriations bills. Looming large once again is the issue of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border -- a pet project of President Donald Trump's that is staunchly opposed by Democrats. Plans by Senate Republicans to include $5 billion in wall funding in the Homeland Security appropriation won't pass in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance spending legislation. In the House the appropriation passed with no money for the wall.

Additionally, there are issues with other Senate bills that include "backfill" for funds reprogrammed by Trump for border wall efforts in fiscal year 2019 under an emergency declaration. Those backfills aren't in House-passed legislation and likely would not make it through the full Senate.

There also is the looming prospect of an impeachment trial that could compel the attention of the Senate for weeks or months and make advancing funding bills under regular order essentially impossible.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called attention to the lack of agreed-upon allocations in a press conference on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are in "an unacceptable position" when it comes to advancing on appropriations, he said.

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