House passes short-term CR

The House on Tuesday approved a short-term spending bill funding the government through Saturday, the first step toward passing a massive $1 trillion spending bill for the rest of 2014.

Members approved the bill by voice vote after a quick debate in which representatives of both parties said the bill is needed to keep the government open while Congress manages the much larger spending bill.

Without the short-term bill, funding for the government would run out after Wednesday, and the Senate is expected to need a few days to digest the larger bill.

ADVERTISEMENT
Most Republicans and Democrats were fine considering the bill under a suspension of House rules, which allowed for a faster debate but required a two-thirds majority for passage. Last week, Democratic leaders indicated they supported passage of the bill under suspension.

"This is a very, very short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open and operating until January 18th," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

"This clean, three-day CR will guarantee no lapse in funding while the legislative gears turn," added ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). "It contains no policy provisions or other extraneous material. I support its quick passage."

Rogers and Lowey were the only two speakers on the short-term bill. House passage sends it to the Senate, which is also expected to approve it with little debate later tonight.

The omnibus spending bill released last night reflects a bipartisan compromise between House and Senate appropriators on how to balance funding priorities for the rest of the current fiscal year. It spends $1.012 trillion, and cements in place numerous compromises between the two parties.

For example, the omnibus will allow for a 1 percent pay hike for federal workers but freeze pay for the vice president and senior political officials. It also includes more money for the Headstart program but rolls back funding for an ObamaCare preventive health program by $1 billion.

Republicans were also able to score victories by delaying new energy efficiency standards on light bulbs, limiting government travel and conferences and prohibiting the IRS from targeting people based on their political beliefs.

In changes welcomed by members of both parties, it also restores a $600 million cut to disabled veterans and prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from ending Saturday mail service.

The House also passed two other suspension bills today:

— H.R. 2274, The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act. This bill exempts brokers who perform services in connection with the transfer of ownership of small privately held companies from SEC's registration requirements. Passed 422-0.

— H.R. 801, Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act. This bill ensures that savings and loan holding companies can benefit from the same streamlined registration rules that bank holding companies enjoy at the SEC. Passed 417-4.

— This story was updated at 2:10 p.m. to reflect the later votes.