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Spending Bill Won’t Be Passed by Next Week’s Deadline, Appropriations Chairman Says

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers told reporters Thursday afternoon that members should expect to vote on a very short-term continuing resolution next week — a sign that a final fiscal 2014 appropriations package will not be passed by the Jan. 15 deadline.

The Kentucky Republican would not get into details about what issues were preventing appropriators from unveiling the 12-bill omnibus imminently.

“I don’t think it would be wise to negotiate through the press,” he said. “We’re having very productive, quiet meetings, very sensible and responsible, and I think we’ll get there, but we still have some things yet to overcome.”

Rogers did suggest that an agreement would be reached before the current CR’s expiration date, and that a stopgap spending bill would be required only to float the government for a day or two while each chamber dealt with the logistics involved in passing legislation — not to buy appropriators more time to strike a deal.

He also said he had discussed the possibility of passing a short-term CR with his counterpart, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., but he declined to describe her reaction or whether the Senate would take up a short-term measure.

Rogers has said since late last year that, with the higher top-line numbers the December budget deal provided, he and his colleagues would be able to pass an omnibus by mid-January. He still hoped to achieve that objective, he said, but that it was a challenge even from the start.

“To put together a bill of this magnitude and size in a month, with the holidays intervening, has been a real, real drag, especially on staff,” Rogers conceded. “That’s an awfully short span … in a divided government.”

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