Deal in Sight to Keep the Government Open

Parks were closed during the government shutdown that spanned parts of 1994 and 1995. Parks were closed during the government shutdown that spanned parts of 1994 and 1995. AP file photo

The House appears willing to accept the Senate's proposal to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, avoiding a protracted fight that could lead to a government shutdown by the end of the month.

The House Appropriations Committee staff is still studying the details, but the Senate package appears to be something the House could support, said an aide to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, because it does not attempt to undo the sequester nor does it provide broad flexibility for all agencies to manage the impact of the automatic cut. Also attractive to House negotiators, the Senate deal does not include additional funding for the Affordable Care Act or the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and it upholds a pay freeze for federal workers.

Rogers first received the Senate's legislative language Monday evening but has had ongoing conversations with Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., throughout the process.

The Senate this week is expected to take up the continuing resolution, which includes separate full-year spending bills for Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Science, Homeland Security, military construction and Veterans Affairs. If the Senate does not significantly alter its proposal, the House is likely to take up the Senate package without making amendments next week. Aides to House GOP leaders caution that a final strategy for the CR has not been set and an aide to the House Rules Committee said it will depend what happens with the package in the Senate.

The current continuing resolution to fund the government expires March 27, but Congress plans to adjourn for recess starting the week of March 25.

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