House Could Vote on Stopgap Before August Recess

Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:27am

House leaders may consider moving as early as next week a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the first months of fiscal 2015, according to two House Republican aides and one Democratic aide.

No details were available about the proposal, including the duration of the stopgap, and aides cautioned that timing for a floor vote is still tentative. However, the CR would likely stretch until after the elections and potentially into December, given that Congress is in session for few days in November and House leadership elections are already expected to eat into the legislative schedule in the lame-duck session.

Mike Long, a spokesman for Majority Leader-elect 
Kevin McCarthy
, R-Calif., would not confirm a CR is coming. “At this time, no decision has been made to discontinue the appropriations process, much less consideration of a continuing resolution,” he said.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker 
John A. Boehner
, R-Ohio, sought to shift blame for any delay in moving appropriations bills to the Democratic-controlled Senate, noting the House has passed seven fiscal 2015 bills while the Senate has passed none.

“We hope Washington Democrats will choose to abandon gridlock and work with us to fund the American people’s priorities,” Steel said.

A House Appropriations spokeswoman declined to comment.

regular appropriations work in both chambers at a standstill
, the need for a stopgap funding measure to keep the federal government operating past Sept. 30 has long been evident. However, if the House does indeed vote on a CR ahead of the August recess, such action would be earlier than anticipated; Congress often doesn’t move on such proposals until September.

It is also unclear whether a CR would be tied to a 
supplemental spending package to address the child migrant crisis
 on the Southwest border. Some observers have suggested that leaders could combine the two in order to save time.

House Appropriations Chairman 
Harold Rogers
, R-Ky., has said that the committee could release its supplemental proposal — which is expected to be significantly smaller in scope compared to the Obama administration’s $3.7 billion request — as soon as this week.

Moving a CR would be an all-too-familiar end to an appropriations season that was greeted with considerable optimism after a Congress cleared a consensus budget deal (
PL 113-67
) in December that set a $1.014 trillion top line for fiscal 2015 discretionary spending. Appropriations leaders in both chambers had high hopes early on for clearing some of the fiscal 2015 spending bills as individual measures.