The United States House of Representatives approved another stopgap spending measure Tuesday to keep the government funded beyond the end of next week when the current stopgap measure is set to expire.
The measure, known as a continuing resolution or CR, would extend current funding levels through March 11, giving negotiators additional time to work out a longer-term agreement that incorporates priorities of the Biden administration and of this Congress. The CR in place right now is a second extension of funding levels approved by the previous Congress under the Trump administration.
The Democratic Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), introduced the stopgap bill Monday and, in a statement, said: “We are close to reaching a framework government funding agreement, but we will need additional time to complete the legislation in full.”
In an interview Tuesday morning, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4), Vice Ranking Member of House Appropriations, said he would support the bill, calling it a ‘clean’ CR with just a few 'riders' that he says are needed for national security.
“These are pretty simple things,” said Rep. Cole, “[it] keeps us at the negotiating table, keeps the government open and then we hope in the next few weeks the major negotiators will come to a decision and will have a total bill.”
Cole says a lot of work has been done on that 'total' bill and, assuming the latest CR is also approved in the Senate and signed by President Biden, he believes there will ultimately be an agreement that represents a compromise between what Democrats want and what Republicans want.
"That bill will need to increase defense spending above what the Biden administration proposed," said Cole, "you’ll need to probably lower the amount of money [Democrats] want to spend domestically, it’ll need to restore the Hyde [Amendment] protections, which are pro-life provisions in appropriations legislation."
Cole says, as tight as the margins are in both the House and especially the Senate, the bill must be bipartisan. He says getting it done by the new March 11 deadline is possible.
"It’ll be a sprint," said Cole. "I mean, appropriating $1.4 to $1.5 trillion is not an easy thing to do, but that’s the discretionary budget of United States."