House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is hoping for quick action on a supplemental spending bill—to fund a border wall and provide more money to the Pentagon—that he expects to be sent to Capitol Hill in the first quarter of the year.
“We anticipate a supplemental coming from the administration on defense and the border,” Ryan said at an interview appearance Jan. 27 sponsored by Politico. He said one holdup is that President Donald Trump’s nominee to head up the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
“Mulvaney has to get in office and then has to start working on it, so I’m hoping sooner rather than later,” Ryan said. “I’m hoping within the first quarter we can get this done. But again, it’s getting them up and running so that they can send us the supplemental. But this is something we want to get on right away.”
Ryan said Republicans are unified on a “200-day agenda” that includes overhauling the health-care and tax systems, with the aim of finishing work on both items before Congress’s traditional August break.
Ryan cited April 28, the date the current temporary government funding law expires, and Sept. 30, the deadline by which fiscal year 2018 appropriations must be completed or the government shuts down the next day, as two concrete dates circled on lawmakers’ calendars.
How Republicans plan to wrap up the current year’s funding cycle by April 28 remains unclear. Some had wanted to negotiate an omnibus wrap-up funding bill after the presidential election in 2016 to ease the legislative logjam early in 2017, but instead, Republicans and the then-Democratic White House bargained to a continuing resolution into April.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said he thought most government agencies would end up being funded by another temporary funding bill through Sept. 30.
“I think what you’re going to see in the next kind of month is getting the defense approps done for the rest of the year. And we’ll probably CR the rest, to be honest with you,” Kinzinger said.
But Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who heads up the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Labor and Health and Human Services departments, said Republicans should instead finish up the omnibus he had hoped to see in December. Cole said his colleagues should realize the constraints negotiated in the current CR will now apply to their own party’s policy makers at the various federal agencies if they extend it.
“I don’t think that’s an acceptable thing, and I don’t think that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
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