House to Vote on Three-Day Spending to Avert Shutdown

The U.S. House will take up a short-term spending bill next week to fund federal government operations past Jan. 15, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.

The spending bill would provide funding at current levels for three days, through Jan. 18, Rogers said. He said he will introduce the short-term bill today and the House may vote on it as soon as Jan. 13. Government funding expires Jan. 15.

“We expect this short extension will pass with bipartisan support,” said Matt Dennis, a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Democrats.

The move would give appropriators more time to agree on a $1.01 trillion spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

“I expect an agreement to be reached soon, and the House will consider this next week,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said of the spending bill.

The measure will be considered under a fast-track procedure that would require a two-thirds vote for passage while limiting debate, Cantor said. That procedure would block amendments that otherwise could complicate passage of the three-day bill.

‘Common Ground’

“We’re making solid progress and I’m confident that next week we’ll have a bipartisan agreement that finds common ground,” said Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. “This very short extension is needed to prevent any funding gaps as the agreement moves through the House and Senate next week.”

Talks on the long-term spending bill are complicated in part because it would require Republicans who control the House to vote to fund things they’ve already voted to repeal, such as implementation of the health law and Environmental Protection Agency regulations opposed by the coal industry.

The total spending level was agreed on by lawmakers in December as part of a two-year budget deal. Rogers of Kentucky said 10 of 12 sections of the spending plan are “reasonably” completed though a few issues remain. He said today he plans to remain in Washington over the weekend to continue talks.

Rogers said the issues include policy matters and spending levels.

Republican efforts to block funding for the health law were at the center of the spending dispute that caused a 16-day partial government shutdown in October. -

Defense Cuts

New York Representative Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said negotiators were making “steady progress working through difficult issues” in the longer-term spending bill.

“Some significant differences still must be resolved but I remain confident we can reach agreement and pass an Omnibus Appropriations Act that creates jobs and supports critical services and investments,” she said.

Lawmakers must agree to military spending cuts that may affect Defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and Northrup Grumman Corp.

In an interview, Rogers said that one of the unresolved issues on “a long list” was contributing $63 billion to the International Monetary Fund’s permanent capital fund.

Hensarling’s Question

At a Dec. 12 hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, told Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that “many Americans question the wisdom of supporting the IMF and other multilateral financial institutions that take their hard-earned dollars and use them to bail out other countries.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the Appropriations panel’s foreign operations subcommittee, said in an interview yesterday he hoped the IMF contribution would be in the bill.

Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, predicted objections to the final spending package “from all across the spectrum” from lawmakers who want more spending cuts and others who want fewer reductions.

Still, he predicted the full spending deal will pass the House with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats.

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