Democrats ready for possible budget vote Friday
House Democratic leaders warned their troops Tuesday to prepare for a last-ditch effort later in the week to prevent a government shutdown — if needed.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told the Caucus at a closed-door meeting that the House may be forced to vote Friday on a budget bill to keep the government open into Saturday, when large parts of it are scheduled to shutter without congressional intervention.
House Democrats are set to leave Washington on Wednesday for their annual issues retreat, a three-day affair being staged this year in Philadelphia. With that in mind, Democratic leaders are planning to vote Wednesday morning on an omnibus spending bill, which will fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year.
The package will also include at least $10 billion in aid to Ukraine, and billions more to address the COVID crisis.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who heads the House Appropriations Committee, told Democrats in the meeting that the package is “98 percent” complete. Lawmakers are expecting that package to be introduced Tuesday afternoon, and House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said he intends to hold a hearing later in the day to send the legislation to the floor.
Separately, McGovern said he’s also planning to consider another bill banning Russian fuel imports — a move President Biden is also expected to endorse later Tuesday.
Passage of the omnibus spending bill in the House on Wednesday would send the bill to the Senate. House leaders said they’re hopeful Senate lawmakers can pass the measure before Friday’s shutdown deadline. But in the event that the legislation hits a snag in the upper chamber, Hoyer has told House Democrats to be prepared to return to Washington on Friday after the conclusion of their retreat in Philadelphia.
“He just gave us a heads up that we may have to return — key word ‘may,'” said Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.).
Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), a senior appropriator, said negotiators are “on track” to finalize the process before Saturday. But House lawmakers are ready to return either to vote on a temporary spending patch, if the omnibus is blocked in the Senate, or any Senate changes to the omnibus requiring a second House vote.
“The hope and the assumption is that that will not happen,” he said.