GOP opts for short-term spending bill

GOP opts for short-term spending bill
© Getty

House Republicans on Thursday settled on a plan to fund the government through March 31 and avoid a final budget deal with President Obama.

Lawmakers decided during a closed-door meeting to back a path toward a short-term spending bill instead of a broad, year-end package. Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanHarmful budget cuts won’t help GOP in 2018 and beyond Senate Dems: We won't help pass additional health bills Centrists balk at GOP ObamaCare bill MORE (R-Wis.) personally made the case for the short-term bill, pitching it as the preference of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHarmful budget cuts won’t help GOP in 2018 and beyond McConnell’s gambit to save the Supreme Court paid off Tillerson to embassies: ID groups for tougher screening MORE, according to multiple lawmakers.

GOP leadership had been eying a continuing resolution, rather than a massive omnibus funding the government for a year, since Trump's election.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters that Trump was driving factor behind the short-term spending bill – which his committee had largely opposed.

"The Trump administration had a desire to have an input on what’s in the spending bill when they take office," Rogers said. "There was a deference to the Trump administration."

House Republicans now have until Dec. 9 to pass a short-term bill, known as a continuing resolution, that will fund the federal government at current levels.

Rogers said there will be many "anomalies" to address in the bill, but GOP lawmakers said they believed it is the firm choice of their caucus.

"There's a lot of strong support in there," Rep Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said while exiting the meeting.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, said he expected some additions to the short-term bill.

“It will not be a clean CR,” he said.

Several members have called for more defense spending as well as additional relief for flood victims. Rogers said Thursday he would personally push to complete the president's request for supplemental war spending, which the chairman called "terribly important."

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and others said pushing this year's appropriations process into next March will make it tougher to write next year's spending bills.

It will shorten the timeline for the appropriations process, which makes it even tougher as GOP leaders pursue a complex budget tactic called reconciliation.

"It makes it a challenge, but we’re working with the incoming administration right now, and that seems to be the preference of folks, so that’s probably the wisest idea," Price said.

Several members, including Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill FloresBill FloresTrump warns Republicans ahead of healthcare vote The Hill's Whip List: 29 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan Conservative chairman faces blowback over ObamaCare statement MORE (R-Texas), said passing the short-term bill would allow members to leave Capitol Hill and return to their districts a week early.

This report was updated at 11:18 a.m.