(Updated Jan. 13 at 10:45 a.m. with more details on upcoming vote)
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican leaders plan to pass a short-term funding bill this week to extend by three days the deadline for wrapping up a massive, $1 trillion-plus catch-all spending bill covering funding for the rest of the year.
The short-term measure would give lawmakers until midnight next Saturday to pass the larger funding bill. The current stopgap funding bill expires at midnight on Wednesday.
The House is expected to take up the three-day stopgap measure as early as Tuesday, according to a weekly schedule posted to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.), website. That’ll help House and Senate appropriators buy more time to continue work on setting agency funding levels for the rest of fiscal 2014.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), who met last week with his Senate counterpart Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and other senior lawmakers from both chambers, said last week bipartisan negotiations on the broader spending bill would continue through the weekend in hopes that an agreement could be sealed early this week. The secretive talks have yielded agreement on at least eight of the omnibus bill’s 12 titles. But issues like funding implementation of the new health care law remain unresolved.
Spending bill follows last month’s budget agreement
The omnibus spending bill follows the outlines of a broad budget deal negotiated by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last month. The budge deal reversed some of the across-the-board sequestration cuts scheduled to carry over into a second year in part through a measure requiring federal employees hired in 2014 to contribute 1.3 percent more of their salary toward their pensions.
The budget deal, approved last month by both the House and the Senate, aided the appropriations process by setting a common top-line spending level, which has frequently been a choke point in the appropriations process.
The Ryan-Murray budget provided a top-line discretionary spending figure of $1.012 trillion — about $25 billion above last year’s sequestered budget level and $45 billion above what it would have been if sequestration continued full-bore into 2014.
However, the deal stopped short of actually parceling out individual agency funding. That’s the job of Rogers’ and Mikulski’s committees, who are responsible for writing an official spending bill spelling out exactly how much each agency gets to spending and on what.