Senate eyes forcing House to vote again on stopgap as deadline looms

Senators are weighing bouncing a stopgap spending bill back to the House with only days until the shutdown deadline. 

Staffers are discussing switching the shell — the bill the continuing resolution (CR) is attached to — on the Senate floor, a procedural roadblock that would force the House to vote a second time. 

A GOP aide said it was unclear if the bill would be sent again to the House, but it’s under discussion. A second GOP aide said senators thought they "need to" attach the CR to another bill and send it back to the House. 

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The concern, according to Republicans, is that the legislation that the CR was attached to in the House would prevent the Senate from formally going to conference later this year on a package of fiscal 2020 bill.

The House had been expected to include the CR as part of a commemorative coin bill. Instead, due to an objection by Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyBudget watchdogs howl over deficit-ballooning deals Democrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses two Texas Democrats MORE (R-Texas), they passed the legislation on Wednesday using a fiscal 2020 bill.  

But Republicans want to preserve that bill for an eventual conference committee.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyAppropriators fume over reports of Trump plan to reprogram .2 billion for wall The Hill's Morning Report — Impeachment tug-of-war expected to end soon McConnell tells GOP senators to expect impeachment trial next week MORE (R-Ala.) said it appeared likely that the CR would be sent back to the House, forcing the chamber to vote again before leaving town on Thursday for the weeklong Thanksgiving break.

“I would think so,” Shelby told reporters when asked if he thought the spending bill would bounce back to the House.

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There is also discussion that Republicans could try to make substantive changes to the spending bill over concerns about its cost. 

Shelby said he expected Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordDemocrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters MORE (R-Okla.) to raise a point of order against part of the funding bill. If Lankford or other Republicans are successful, that would strip out parts of the House legislation. 

"We're trying to clean — make sure the House CR is clean as it can be," Shelby said. 

But Lankford tamped down concerns, saying that moving ahead with the CR was the priority and that he expected a vote later in the day.
 
“I think that’s gone,” he said. “There is ongoing dialogue about multiple different things right now, but I don’t know of anything right now that I would oppose.”
 
House Democrats however, suggested that a move on substantive changes could lead to a precarious impasse ahead of a tight shutdown deadline. 
 
“The House will not accept any substantive changes to the CR we passed yesterday,” a Democratic aide told The Hill. 

The House is expecting to have to vote again on the spending bill before leaving town on Thursday for Thanksgiving break, according to a House Democratic aide. 

The government is funded through Thursday, giving lawmakers just over 24 hours to work out their differences.
 
The CR, when it passes, will fund the government through Dec. 20.