House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated the obvious on Thursday when he noted that the chamber’s schedule for next week remains “fluid and subject to change.”
Outside of the big remaining item of business — a deal to extend government funding for nine departments and assorted agencies amid the congressional standoff with President Donald Trump over funding for a border wall — there is a dwindling list of legislative business for the chamber to attend to before the adjourning of the 115th Congress.
The House conducted its final vote of the week early Thursday and as McCarthy and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., assembled on the floor to discuss the week ahed, the schedule McCarthy laid out reflected the uncertainty of when a spending deal might be considered, as well as the lack of a definitive plan on considering anything else.
- On Monday, Dec. 17 there are no vote scheduled, although the chamber will convene for a pro-forma session at 11:30 a.m.
- On Tuesday, Dec. 18, no votes are scheduled.
- On Wednesday, Dec. 19, their are roll call votes scheduled for 6:30 p.m., although no list of legislation.
- On Thursday, Dec. 20, the schedule is to be determined.
- On Friday, when the current continuing resolution funding those nine departments and assorted agencies expires at 11:59 p.m., the schedule is also to be determined.
McCarthy opened by noting that Thursday’s colloquy was likely the last between himself and Hoyer. The two began by exchanging friendly remarks and reflecting on their work together in the 115th Congress.
“Although your questions were rarely confined to the schedule for the week to come,” McCarthy said, as Hoyer started laughing over him, “I have actually grown to enjoy these colloquies.”
As if on cue, after the scheduling, such as it was, was outlined, the rest of the colloquy focused on plans for the passage of seven remaining appropriations bills for fiscal 2019.
Hoyer urged McCarthy to consider a continuing resolution for the Homeland Security appropriations bill and bring the remaining six measures to a vote on Wednesday. He said Democrats would also support a CR for all seven measures, but doing so would be “holding hostage” the majority of appropriations for the sake of one issue, the border wall.
McCarthy gave no indication that he would consider either of these options, saying “homeland security is not like any other appropriations. It’s not one that we set aside because we disagree.”
The majority leader said he believes the House could pass all seven measures next week, but did not set this as a deadline. He said finding common ground meant “we don’t leave until we get this done.”
McCarthy and Hoyer played a blame game over who would be responsible in the case of a government shutdown, with Hoyer citing Trump’s comments that he would be “proud to shut down the government” and McCarthy saying that “Democrats control whether we keep this government open or shut down.”
Tia Yang contributed to this report.