Stopgap spending bill set for vote next week

House Republicans have scheduled a vote next week on a stopgap spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Aides said the GOP has not yet come up with a final draft for the bill.

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A continuing resolution (CR) that simply extends current funding for two to three months has been a leading option for a while, but final decisions on the CR will await the return of members next week to Washington from their August recess, aides said.

A measure that spends at the current rate but does not seek the deeper cuts envisioned in the House-passed budget is seen as likely.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in a fall agenda memo issued Friday, highlighted the advantages of a CR that enshrines the current level of spending, which has been automatically reduced due to sequestration. He did not say such a "clean CR" is definitely coming to the floor without other policy riders, however, such as the complete defunding of ObamaCare.

"In signing a CR at sequester levels, the President would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes away all the increases he and Congressional Democrats made while they were in charge and returns us to a pre-2008 level of discretionary spending," Cantor noted.

A continuing resolution is needed because none of the 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal 2014 have been enacted, yet. The Senate has moved bills spending $91 billion more than has the House. House efforts to pass its own cost-cutting bills stalled in July when a Transportation and Housing measure was pulled from the floor. 

The climactic vote on Syria strikes, which could happen in the House next week or the following week, is complicating the planning for other bills, including the CR and House food stamp bill. 

A large number of House Republicans have called for the CR to defund President Obama's healthcare reform law. Other conservatives have suggested a temporary delay in the individual mandate to buy insurance. Time is of the essence, they argue, because ObamaCare goes into effect on Oct. 1. 

Insisting on such provisions could, however, lead to a standoff with the White House that shuts down the government. Republicans bore the brunt of the blame in the 1990s when they attempted to force then-President Clinton to make spending cuts, and a standoff resulted in a short government shutdown.

— This story was originally posted at 11:52 a.m. and updated.