The House will return to Washington next week with plans to swiftly pass a bill to keep the government open past Sept. 30, marking the first step to avert yet another shutdown.
The House will take up the stopgap funding measure the second week they return from the August recess, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced in a letter to the caucus on Thursday.
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“The week of September 16th, I expect the House to consider a clean continuing resolution to fund the government past September 30th,” Hoyer wrote to Democrats.
Hoyer’s announcement isn’t a surprise. House Democratic leaders have been mulling a short-term bill for weeks that could keep the government open beyond the Sept. 30 deadline until sometime in the fall as they negotiate a larger spending package with the Senate.
On a private caucus call two weeks ago, Hoyer floated the idea of a continuing resolution that would fund the government until Nov. 22, just before Congress is due to recess for Thanksgiving. The No. 2 Democrat did not provide an end-date for the short-term bill in his letter to colleagues on Thursday.
But it’s unclear if Senate Republicans are willing to accept a stopgap measure, which would not include a single additional dollar for President Donald Trump’s border wall, which is likely to be the administration’s top priority in the funding talks.
Under the House’s timeframe, the Senate would have roughly two weeks to take up the bill or float its own alternative to avert what would be the third shutdown under President Trump.
House Democrats already passed a majority of spending bills to fund the government before leaving town for the August recess. But the Senate has not yet taken up a single appropriations bill — making it near-certain that both chambers will need a stopgap measure.
Senate GOP leaders have discussed passing at least some full-year funding bills this month, particularly the bill to fund the Pentagon.
But Democrats have warned there is not enough time for full-scale negotiations this month. The House is in session just 13 days in September before leaving town again for the Jewish holidays.
“I am disappointed that the Senate failed to introduce a single appropriations bill for the first time in more than three decades,” he continued. “As we wait for them to complete their work so that we can begin conference negotiations, a continuing resolution will be necessary to prevent another government shutdown like the one we experienced earlier this year.”