White House backs stopgap spending bill

The White House said Wednesday it supports House passage of a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded through Dec. 11.

The measure is also expected to include language authorizing a program to train and arm Syrian rebels to fight Islamic militants. That language would be voted on as an amendment to the spending bill. 

“The administration appreciates that the House bill allows critical government functions to operate without interruption and avoids a damaging government shutdown,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement of administration policy.

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The White House said it appreciates “strong bipartisan support” that produced the amendment to aid Syrian rebels. It also said the authority is “essential” to providing necessary tools for the United States to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Lawmakers will vote on the amendment late Wednesday afternoon. If it passes, it will be tied into the continuing resolution (CR), which House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) unveiled last week. 

The administration also urged Congress to pass a long-term authorization for the Export-Import Bank, which will see its charter expire on Sept. 30. The CR would only extend Ex-Im through Sept. 30, 2015. Republicans had threatened not to reauthorize it, while Democrats wanted a five-year extension.

For the U.S. push to respond to the Ebola epidemic, the CR would provide $88 million in additional funding, which is the amount the White House had requested from Congress.

In its statement, the Obama administration urged Congress to pass individual appropriations measures for fiscal 2015, which begins on Oct. 1. The House has passed seven of these bills, but the Senate has not passed any. 

“The Administration urges the Congress to establish spending levels for FY 2015 in comprehensive full-year appropriations legislation that appropriately funds national security requirements, while also funding critical domestic priorities that promote economic growth, opportunity, and innovation,” the OMB said.