House won't pass stopgap to avoid shutdown, key Republican says

Erik Wasson, Joe Mathieu and Kailey Leinz, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House will not pass another temporary spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown when the latest deadline expires on March 1, the chamber’s No. 3 leader said Thursday.

“You are not going to get another continuing resolution out of our conference,” Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the Republican majority’s top vote-counter, told Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power.”

Ruling out another short-term spending bill raises the chances of a shutdown given how little time Congress has to complete talks on the long-delayed fiscal 2024 spending measure. Current funding for U.S. agencies runs out in two tranches, on March 1 and March 8.

The House left Washington on Thursday for a recess until Feb. 28 — just days before the first deadline. The Senate is also away next week and upon returning will be tied up with a trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was impeached by the House this week.

Yet Emmer expressed some optimism that a shutdown could be prevented. He said lawmakers were looking to approve packages of spending bills just ahead of the deadline and that progress was being made to complete talks on the bills.

“When we come back the key is what are the packages that are put on the floor,” he said. “We should be there before the first deadline of March 1.”

Those comments echo those of Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House spending panel, earlier Thursday. She also said talks were making progress. But DeLauro added that conservative demands for policy changes to be attached to the spending bills continue to be a problem. Conservatives have demanded many of these so-called riders including banning abortion drugs and making changes to immigration.


Ukraine Aid

Emmer, the majority whip, assailed the White House in the Bloomberg Television interview for refusing to open new border security talks with Speaker Mike Johnson as a way to unlock billions in Ukraine aid, which has been held up over the issue. The White House earlier this week dismissed Johnson’s demand for direct talks with President Joe Biden, saying the speaker’s position on immigration and foreign aid has repeatedly shifted, and that such a meeting would be unproductive.

He said that while a bipartisan Senate border deal hatched last week was a “non-starter” for Republicans, Johnson was willing to strike a more conservative compromise with Biden.

Emmer added that the level of Ukraine aid would also likely be reduced, eliminating humanitarian and government support to focus on military aid as part of any deal that can pass the House.

“We are ready and willing to work to solve these problems,” Emmer said.

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