Thursday's HOT MIC
House Republicans kicked the can down the road a few weeks and potentially avoided a government shutdown after December 8 by passing a two-week stop gap spending measure. The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
The spending patch through Dec. 22 gives lawmakers time to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal. At that time, Congress is expected to pass another short-term patch so that appropriators can craft a spending package to keep federal agencies funded through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.
“I think it's kind of just basic governing is keeping government going while we negotiate the final details,” said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made clear that Democrats wouldn’t support the two-week stopgap.
Pelosi emphasized that Democrats don’t want to see a government shutdown, but couldn’t support Thursday’s bill because it doesn’t include their priorities like protections for young immigrants, funding for the opioid crisis and relief for communities affected by recent natural disasters.
“This is a waste of time,” Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol.
The Senate is expected to easily clear the two-week stopgap measure as early as Thursday evening. Though Democrats haven't formally said they will back the legislation, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted on Thursday morning that they are making good progress on budget deal talks.
A government shutdown would commence after Friday at midnight if Congress doesn't pass a spending bill by then.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus were skeptical when GOP leaders first outlined plans to extend government funding to Dec. 22.
Freedom Caucus members are concerned that a deadline close to Christmas will pressure lawmakers to support a spending package loaded with extraneous items that conservatives will loathe.
To which I expel a hearty "duh." Threatening the members' cherished Christmas vacation is an easy way to get anything passed and has been used many times in the past by the leadership of both parties.
But it doesn't solve the basic problem of chaotic budgeting, which is driving the deficit. Automatic spending increases are in these "continuing resolutions" and simply pile on zeros to programs already too fat and out of control.
There will be no "grand bargain" on the budget when all is said and done around Christmas day. Dems will probably get their DACA amendment and the GOP will hopefully get tax reform passed. And then they'll all go home and brag to the voters what tremendous achievements they accomplished.
Reaching for the barf bag so I don't spew on to my monitor...