Conservative committee wants House to vote first on funding bill

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) will urge Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 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 FloresOvernight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary 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 CruzJim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech 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 BurgessBipartisan House panel leaders ask agencies for maternal mortality data Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders to roll out 'Medicare for all' bill | Dems target Juul over Altria ties | Measles cases spike nationwide GOP rep who supports lowering voting age: 'It's on us' if 16-year-olds vote Democratic 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.