Congress may have to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government open past Friday night's deadline, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says
Democrats and Republicans have been sparring over the measure and possible policy riders
As the deadline nears to fund the government top House Republicans are acknowledging that Congress may need to pass a short-term funding bill to avoid a shutdown at midnight on Friday.
“There have been a number of issues that have not been finalized,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking to a Wisconsin radio station on Monday said negotiators from both parties are working both on the spending bill and another bill to address a host of tax breaks that were expiring at the end of the year. “It might take us more than just this week to get these issues put together correctly,” Ryan said.
Both sides are pressing to get a variety of items attached to the must-pass spending bill, including provisions on Syrian refugees, environmental rules, financial regulations, and campaign finance rules.
McCarthy repeatedly declined to comment on how talks involving specific riders were being resolved, or indicate how quickly fights between the two parties could give way to a deal. But when asked about one item that GOP negotiators are pushing, a ban on oil exports, he argued it would “healthy for America” and a boost for the economy.
The Republican leader suggested that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi isn’t giving Democrats on the Appropriations Committee the authority from their own leadership to hammer out a final deal.
But Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said it was the GOP that was holding things up, telling CNN, “the appropriators continue to take the lead on this process. Republicans should drop their insistence on poison pill riders and work with Democrats to keep government open.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blamed the push for policy riders as well. “If the Congress fails to finish our business by December 11, it will be because Republicans continue to insist on extraneous poison pill riders,” Reid said Monday.
McCarthy downplayed the need for more time, saying he hasn’t heard any members worried about a shutdown, adding, “We’re in the midst of closure on these and we’re not there yet.” He argued the short term funding bill, which GOP aides say could just be a few days, was to give people time to review all the details.
“When we come to that conclusion you don’t want to jam any members,” McCarthy said, adding, “You want the public transparency to be able to see, it to be able to read it and these bills are a little bigger so it takes time.”