House ready to act quickly on Senate spending bill

The House of Representatives is poised to quickly approve the $984 billion Senate stopgap spending bill as soon as it makes its way out of the Senate.

“I like what I see so far,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told The Hill on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
He said that it is “likely” that the full House will take up the Senate continuing resolution without changes.

It would be brought straight to the floor under a closed rule forbidding changes.

Aides said final decisions will be made once House Republican leaders see what amendments make it onto the bill. So far, no poison pills have been added, they said.

If the situation holds, a government shutdown on March 28, when the current stopgap funding bill runs out, appears to likely have been averted. 

The Senate voted Monday night to limit debate on the continuing resolution with a 63 to 35 vote.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attempted to move toward final passage by allowing two amendments: one by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and one by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

The Blunt-Pryor amendment would close a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and ensure that food inspectors are not furloughed due to the sequestration cuts that went into effect on March 1.

The Toomey amendment would increase the Pentagon’s operating budget by $60 billion by decreasing funds for biofuels and maintenance.

Reid’s attempt was blocked by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) who wants a vote on his amendment to reverse cuts to air traffic control towers. 

If Reid cannot get permission to speed up votes, the Senate will consider the CR on Thursday.

“I think his amendment is pretty good. But once you allow one, then you have to allow more,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said. “We are moving along. I think we’ll prevail.”

Shelby said he believed the House will pass the Senate CR.

“I think they know the rules. They know what to do. I think we will fund the government,” he said. “I hope we’re close to done.”