House GOP looks to punt on shutdown date

illustration dollar sign in vise 

A stopgap funding bill proposed by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Dec. 2 would extend the current continuing resolution by two weeks.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) proposed a bill to extend the current bill funding the government to Dec. 22, to allow an additional two weeks for Congress to agree on funding plan for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

"It is absolutely vital that all 12 of the regular Appropriations bills be negotiated and signed into law," Frelinghuysen said in a statement. "This [continuing resolution] will allow for additional time for a deal to be reached on top-line spending levels for this fiscal year. Once this agreement is made, my committee will rapidly go to work with the Senate to complete the final legislation."

The current continuing resolution funding the government expires Dec. 8. That extension was negotiated largely between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in September, as Congress faced urgent calls for disaster relief in the aftermath of killer hurricanes. But the outbreak of bipartisanship that led to the deal has passed. On Nov. 28, top Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled out of a planned negotiation with Trump and Republican leaders at the White House, after the president tweeted that he didn't see a funding deal on their terms.

The issues at stake for Democrats include the status of immigrants granted temporary legal status in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program under the Obama administration. Additionally, many in regions affected by the unusually destructive hurricane season are pushing for more aid.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he does not think funding will lapse.

"Look, there's not going to be a government shutdown. It's just not going to happen," McConnell said on the Dec. 3 edition of the ABC public affairs program "This Week".

"We need the fund the military," McConnell said. "We need to make sure the Children's Health Insurance Program, which is expiring, gets to panel before tend of the year. We have another supplemental for Puerto Rico, and for Florida, and for Texas. All of that will be in this package that we'll dealing with at some point here in the next couple of weeks."

On the CBS program "Face the Nation," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney blamed the "broken" appropriations system for what he called "managing by crisis to crisis." Mulvaney, who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus as a member of Congress, said the current situation "sheds light on the fact that the appropriations, the spending system is broken when any little group can sort of hold the government hostage."

Despite that dynamic, Mulvaney said, "I don't think you'll see a government shutdown."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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