House GOP to offer one-week stopgap spending measure
Funding bill would prevent a shutdown at the end of this week and fund the Defense Department for the rest of the year.
House Republican leaders planned to go to the White House on Tuesday for negotiations on spending armed with another stopgap spending proposal to keep the government running beyond Friday's midnight deadline for avoiding a government shutdown.
The new measure was being described on Monday night as a "hybrid" continuing resolution, because it not only would contain funding to keep the government open for a week longer, but would also fund the Defense Department for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30. GOP aides said the short-term extension is expected to include about $12 billion in cuts over the one week.
The maneuver would provide additional time for lawmakers to reach a compromise on legislation to fund the remainder of the fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown this weekend. It would also ensure that the military is given more certainty as the negotiations continue.
If enacted, the measure would be the seventh temporary spending bill since the beginning of fiscal 2011, as a full-year plan remains elusive. Some conservative lawmakers, as well as some Democrats, have said they would not go along with another stopgap measure.
The CR is expected to be discussed in detail by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and rank-and-file House Republicans during a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday morning. Later on Tuesday, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other lawmakers will meet with President Obama at the White House to try to strike a deal.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said after leaving a caucus meeting Monday evening that the committee would release legislation on Monday night, but declined to provide any details.
"We are serious about trying to prevent a government shutdown," Rogers told reporters. "But we are also serious about cutting spending and those are the two driving parameters of what we talked about."
Rogers said that talks had progressed in recent days, but said that Reid on Sunday "stopped good faith efforts. Senator Reid instructed his staff not to proceed any further with negotiations. The senator instructed his staff not to even tell the chairmen of the [Senate Appropriations] subcommittees on the Senate side the negotiation points we were talking about and I found that absolutely strange."
"Senator Reid had instructed all staff not to agree to any policy riders and all numbers had to go through him so the Senate negotiators really had nothing to talk about," Rogers said. "I am puzzled that the senator has stopped the negotiations knowing it could lead to a shutdown."
Reid spokesman Jon Summers fired back that Rogers's allegation of Reid calling off negotiations is "absolutely false," adding, "That's why the president himself will be at the table tomorrow."
"Rep. Rogers has a real credibility gap on this one. Negotiations continue and nothing regarding the approach to how they are being handled on the Democratic side has changed," Summers said. "Sen. Reid continues to consult with his caucus as we proceed. Rep. Rogers should spend more time working with us to wrap up negotiations and less time launching unproductive attacks."
The proposal could still be amended, said House Republican aides. But an initial version is to be posted late Monday night on the House Rules Committee web site, according to Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif.
"We're introducing it as an option. Not introducing it as 'we're going to take this up tomorrow,' " said a House Republican source. "We're introducing it as an option that we have on the table that we can use if we choose to do it."
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, also said that Reid is not negotiating in good faith. Simpson similarly charged that Reid is not allowing his Appropriations subcommittee chairmen to negotiate on their bills, which is slowing talks.
"We are doing everything we can to avoid a government shutdown. If it is shut down it is because Harry Reid refuses to negotiate in good faith," Simpson said.
Boehner's office also said on Monday night that House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., will explain to House GOP members at Tuesday morning's caucus meeting what will happen if the government shuts down.
Dan Friedman contributed to this report.