The Senate this week to act first on a continuing resolution (“CR”) to keep the government running beyond the end of this month, when the current fiscal year ends.
But the path forward in the House of Representatives is still not resolved.
Senate leaders are working to draft a CR that will keep the government funded into fiscal year 2017, which begins on Oct. 1. Press reports indicate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have engaged in discussions on the details of a short-term CR that would run through Dec. 9 and would include supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus outbreak in the United States. The December deadline would allow lawmakers to adjourn and hit the campaign trail, while also giving congressional leaders and administration officials’ time to negotiate a larger spending deal for the remainder of FY 2017 following the election.
The House Republicans remain divided on a strategy for the CR. A conference meeting was held last Friday, but members remain split on setting the scope and length of a CR. While many members support a short-term CR, the more conservative wing of the conference is pushing for a six-month extension that would keep the government running at current levels into the next session of Congress. A six-month CR is unacceptable to the president and Democrats, as well as to some Republicans, so it is unlikely to be able to pass the Senate in any event. In addition, several members want to attach controversial policy riders, including a ban on more Syrian refugees. The House may not have much choice in the matter if the Senate acts first on a short-term CR and leaves town.