GOP chairman: Spending bill expected to last through April

GOP chairman: Spending bill expected to last through April
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers are expected to release a short-term spending bill on Tuesday that would run through April 28.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) indicated to reporters Monday night that multiple policy riders are still being worked out before the legislation’s expected release.

Among the potential provisions: reimbursing New York for President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE’s security costs and providing a waiver for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as the next Secretary of Defense.

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“We’ll be seven months into the new year, the fiscal year. So we have to do some things,” Rogers said.

The measure is also expected to include $170 million to help the residents of Flint, Mich., with their ongoing drinking water crisis. 

Lawmakers unveiled a water infrastructure bill earlier Monday that authorized the Flint aid, but will need to provide the actual funds in the spending bill.

Rogers declined to say which policy riders will make it into the bill. But he did confirm that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request for $35 million to pay back the costs of protecting the president-elect and his family through the inauguration is under consideration.

The Washington Post first reported Monday that Republicans are mulling whether to add a provision exempting Mattis from a law requiring Defense secretaries to be out of military service for at least seven years. Mattis retired four years ago, raising concerns among some Democrats about the tradition of ensuring the Pentagon is led by a civilian who hasn’t recently served in the military.

But at least one top Republican opposes tucking a Mattis waiver into the spending package. The Post reported that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) would prefer a standalone bill to debate the Mattis an exemption.

Forcing Democrats to accept the Mattis waiver or risk a government shutdown could also put as risk easy passage of the spending bill in the Senate. At least one Democrat, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (N.Y.), opposes granting Mattis an exemption to the law.

When asked if the Mattis waiver would be included in the spending legislation, Rogers replied, “That’s a detail I’d rather not get into until we file the bill.”

Releasing the spending bill on Tuesday would keep the House on track for a Thursday vote, allowing members to leave Washington on time for the holidays.

Republicans, with support from the incoming Trump administration, opted to set an end-date of April 28 to give the Senate enough time to confirm Cabinet nominees before tackling another spending package next year.

Current government funding runs out on Friday.