Conservative committee wants House to vote first on funding bill

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) will urge Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) and his GOP leadership team to move a short-term government funding bill through the House before the Senate takes action on its own funding bill, RSC Chairman Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresTrump calls on House Republicans to let committee chairs stay on the job longer Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dorian lashes Florida's coast MORE told The Hill on Wednesday.


In an interview, the Texas Republican said the 178-member caucus discussed a 10-week continuing resolution, or CR, at its weekly lunch meeting and came to the consensus that the House should vote first so the lower chamber doesn’t get jammed with a Senate bill it doesn’t want.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Cicilline on Trump investigations versus legislation: 'We have to do both' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info Poll: 47 percent back limits on Senate filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) have been negotiating a 10-week funding bill to keep the government’s lights on past Sept. 30 but are at an impasse over a Planned Parenthood provision and other issues.

“The Senate has gotten itself balled up on their attempts to do a CR, so I think it’s important that House go ahead and move first,” Flores said after the RSC meeting. “If there is a short-term CR, we’re going to push that we move first, and we’d have three principle policy riders on it.”

Those riders would halt the Syrian refugee resettlement program until the government can assure no terrorists or radicals will be admitted to the U.S., prevent millions of dollars earmarked for Puerto Rico's response to the Zika virus from going to Planned Parenthood clinics, and block President Obama's internet transition plan, which would relinquish supervision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Critics of the internet plan, including Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Cruz on reported Kavanaugh allegations: There's nobody Democrats don't want to impeach MORE (R-Texas), say it would allow countries like Russia and China to censor the internet.

Flores’s support for a short-term funding measure is a departure from his previous position. Earlier this summer, the RSC chairman had joined the far-right Freedom Caucus in calling for a six-month CR that would fund the government into March, when Republicans might have one of their own in the White House.

“It is a new thought. I think it’s worth exploring, since we can put in the things that we want,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), a member of the Budget and Armed Services committees who attended Wednesday’s RSC meeting. “I think the House can move quickly if they want to.”

Still, there are doubts that Ryan and his team will want to move first given how far along Senate negotiations are. Ryan has been in close contact with McConnell as those talks have proceeded.

"I think it's ideal. I don't know if it can happen," Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessTrump officials propose easing privacy rules to improve addiction treatment House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE, a fellow Texas Republican, told The Hill.

When asked about the House looking to move first, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) laughed.

“Well, let’s wait and see what the Senate does,” he said.

“You’ve got to do what you can pass and get signed into law,” the senior appropriator, who did not attend the RSC meeting, said, while adding that he supports the provisions floated by Flores earlier Wednesday.

Cole said the Senate is already working with House Republicans on a deal to resolve the last remaining hurdle: the "huge issue" of Planned Parenthood funding in the response to Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread in some parts of the United States and its territories.

“I think we’re inching closer, I do. People want to get these problems solved, and, honestly, in the Senate, I think even more than us," he said, adding that the Senate is crafting a bill that could also pass the House.

"You can’t have a situation where you have 50 or 60 Republicans voting with 180 Democrats. That’s just not a tenable situation.”

— Updated at 3:43 p.m.