Gingrich: GOP will keep government open

Making it clear Republicans will not shut down the government, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., today left open the possibility of passing a series of continuing resolutions-possibly lasting until after the election-but appropriators quickly shot down that idea, saying they are intent on finishing their work next weekend.

Gingrich said Republicans will push a CR lasting one week or even until after the election if it gets appropriators past the politics hounding the annual funding measures. "The President will have no excuse to close the government," Gingrich said.

Gingrich said Republicans are "collectively united" to pass CRs if necessary. But Senate Republican leadership aides also downplayed the possibility of a series of CRs.

However, following a bicameral Republican leadership meeting, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, R-La., said, "Our goal is to be finished at the end of next weekend." He said he told Republican colleagues that now is the time to be willing to compromise on key issues in an effort to complete the bills.

Livingston said he expects House appropriators to begin work on an omnibus funding measure Monday or Tuesday, with the legislation coming to the floor next Thursday or Friday. That bill will include six appropriations measures-the Labor-HHS, District of Columbia, Foreign Operations, Commerce-Justice-State, Treasury-Postal and Interior funding measures.

Livingston said the supplemental spending package also will be rolled into the omnibus package. He also said he believes the House eventually will agree to the Senate provision to provide the International Monetary Fund with $18 billion.

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