RWE Update: December 9th Appropriations

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Decisions on FY 17 Spending to Come After Pence Meeting

  • GOP conference set to meet tomorow, decide CR or omnibus
  • Mikulski among senators opposed to stopgap funding bill

By Erik Wasson and Kathleen Hunter | November 16, 2016 12:49PM ET

Look for House Republicans to decide tomorrow whether they’ll pursue another stopgap bill, a full-year omnibus or something in between to keep the federal government running after Dec. 9, the last day of the current temporary spending law.

The Republican Conference is scheduled to meet in the morning amid accelerating talks with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, said a House leadership aide. They’ll be joined by a former colleague — Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

A key factor has been getting input from the Trump transition team, which has gotten off to a slow start after the New York developer’s surprise White House win.

Another House aide said Speaker Paul Ryan and his team want to settle on a path forward before the end of this week to give appropriators time over the Thanksgiving break to fashion the details of spending bills or a continuing resolution.

Should they choose a CR, they’d encounter resistance in the Senate from both parties.

Barbara Mikulski — the ranking Appropriations Committee Democrat — said her party isn’t on board.

“We are prepared to do an omnibus, we are prepared to do minibuses,” the soon-to-retire Maryland senator told reporters. “What we are not prepared to do is a CR.”

She wouldn’t say whether Democrats would vote against a stopgap bill.

Republican Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, said he wants and omnibus and would vote against a CR.

LEAHY LANDS APPROPS: Senate Democrats today selected the chamber’s most senior member — Patrick Leahy of Vermont — to take the party’s top spot on the Appropriations Committee in January, succeeding Mikulski.

The post is particularly important in light of the election’s outcome, given “the need for checks and balances, now that one party controls the White House as well as both houses of Congress,” Leahy said in a statement. California’s Dianne Feinstein was chosen to replace Leahy as ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.

SANDERS STAYS PUT: Bernie Sanders will stay on as the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee, a post that will afford the former presidential candidate a chance to counter Trump’s budget proposals.

Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, also won the a role in leadership, heading Democrats’ outreach efforts. He said he’ll use the budget process next year to highlight solutions for working Americans.

If Republicans follow through with plans to vote on both fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 budget resolutions next year — in order to give Trump two chances to use fast-track reconciliation procedures– that would give Sanders two chances to oversee floor vote-a-rama sessions to embarrass Republicans.

“There is a lot of pain and suffering among working people in this country,” Sanders said. “The caucus is going to have to have the guts to stand up to the billionaire class.”

EARMARK VOTE: We’re watching for whether House Republicans revive earmarks as part of a draft rules package they’re considering this afternoon. Among the rule changes being proposed is one by Florida Republican Tom Rooney to bring back earmarks for roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Conservative lawmakers and groups are opposed.

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