Congress

Congress running out of time to pass funding bill

US Congress House side Shutterstock photo ID: 156615524 By mdgn editorial use only 

Once again, the deadline to pass the fiscal year 2018 budget is approaching.

This time around, lawmakers have until March 23 to either pass an omnibus spending bill or a sixth continuing resolution.

"We can't possibly have another continuing resolution," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at her weekly press conference, adding "it is necessary" to pass an omnibus funding package.

Pelosi lamented the current budget climate "is so dysfunctional as far as government is concerned."

In February, both Republicans and Democrats touted the passage of the two-year budget agreement to lift spending caps, which paved the way for the current, fifth stopgap spending bill. But many of the same political points of disagreement -- funding of Planned Parenthood, immigration, domestic spending and a permanent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals resolution -- remain unresolved.

As it stands, Pelosi said Democrats were waiting on a "serious global response" from Republicans to the issues her party raised relating to the funding bill.

"My understanding, from the Republicans in Congress, is that it's hard for them to give us a global statement," she said, "because they don’t know where the president is."

A House Appropriations Committee spokesperson told FCW the committee expects the omnibus bill to be filed early next week. On March 13, President Donald Trump visited California to inspect border wall prototypes, and on Twitter he called for border wall funding and the defunding of "sanctuary jurisdictions."

Given the range of issues and tight legislative window, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) expressed skepticism about the passage of an omnibus budget bill by the March 23 deadline.

"We're just running out of time," he said.

“I would guess -- just a guess -- there’s going to be another short-term CR in our future while they try to work out an omnibus,” he continued. "Obviously the name of the game here is to have an omnibus, and I believe we will. But will have it by March 23? Count me in the skeptical camp. I doubt it."

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

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