House

GOP prepares security ‘minibus’ spending bill

Greg Nash

GOP House members head into the last days before the August recess confident they will be able to pass a security-oriented spending bill, but showing little progress on advancing an actual budget resolution or raising the debt ceiling.

The so-called security “minibus,” which includes four spending bills (as opposed to a 12-bill omnibus), is slated to open for debate on the House floor on Wednesday. Absent the addition of any controversial amendments in the following days, leadership hopes to pass the bill by Friday.

Republican leaders in the House had floated bringing up a full omnibus but failed to find support in their caucus. The reason: Individual bills may be easier to sink. Security-related bills are popular, which makes it harder to vote against a full spending package.

“It’s a tough bill to vote against, and I think that’s what the Republicans are banking on,” said House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who is trying to build opposition to the bill among Democrats.

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The four-bill approach seems unlikely to change, despite a seeming increase in support among rank-and-file Republicans in recent days.

Even if it passes, the bill, which includes $1.6 billion to fund President Trump’s proposed border wall, has little chance of passage in the Senate, where it would need Democratic support. 

House Republicans will also head into August without a plan on how to address the debt limit — a priority that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said should be dealt with before fall — nor action on the House budget resolution.

The resolution, which passed out of committee with unanimous Republican support, may still lack votes in the broader GOP caucus, and its spending numbers are far different than those in the Senate.

—Mike Lillis contributed.

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