Boehner: House Will Vote to Avoid Shutdown in September

The speaker promises a short-term CR that would kick big spending decisions to the lame-duck.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 10: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Boehner spoke on immigration issues facing the U.S. and other matters.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
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Sarah Mimms
July 24, 2014, 8:34 a.m.

House Speak­er John Boehner said Thursday that the House will not deal with fund­ing the gov­ern­ment be­fore the Au­gust re­cess, but said that the House will tackle the is­sue when it re­turns in Septem­ber.

Boehner told re­port­ers that the House will pass a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion to keep the gov­ern­ment open some­time in Septem­ber, avoid­ing a gov­ern­ment shut­down that would oth­er­wise oc­cur on the last day of the month. The le­gis­la­tion would likely ex­pire in early Decem­ber, he said, punt­ing de­cisions about the na­tion’s spend­ing to a lame-duck Con­gress just after the midterm elec­tion.

House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Chair­man Har­old Ro­gers and oth­ers had signaled that the House would at­tempt to pass a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion be­fore mem­bers leave for re­cess next week, but Boehner said Thursday that the le­gis­la­tion will have to wait.

The speak­er’s plan to tackle a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion in Septem­ber doesn’t leave law­makers with much time to pass a new fund­ing bill.

Law­makers will re­turn from their Au­gust re­cess on Sept. 8 and the House will have just 10 le­gis­lat­ive days to pass the con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion. Any le­gis­la­tion to keep the gov­ern­ment fun­ded at its cur­rent levels could rankle mem­bers on the far right who would like to see deep spend­ing cuts. But the 10-day dead­line coupled with linger­ing memor­ies of the fal­lout from last year’s gov­ern­ment shut­down has giv­en lever­age to Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship in the dis­cus­sions.

It ap­pears that House Re­pub­lic­ans are lever­aging their few re­main­ing le­gis­lat­ive days to get the Sen­ate to agree to whatever con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion they pass in Septem­ber. The Sen­ate is sched­uled to be in ses­sion for 17 days that month (though that num­ber could de­crease, as the cham­ber typ­ic­ally takes Fri­days off), giv­ing them more time to deal with any House-passed con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion, but little time to re­turn it to the lower cham­ber should they seek changes.

No one on Cap­it­ol Hill is ad­voc­at­ing for a gov­ern­ment shut­down, giv­en the dam­aging re­per­cus­sions mem­bers’ faced last fall.

In passing a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion and put­ting off the is­sue to Decem­ber, House Re­pub­lic­ans are hand­ing con­trol over fu­ture spend­ing to a lame-duck Con­gress. Many had ex­pec­ted that they would pass a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion that would carry the gov­ern­ment in­to the early months of 2015. By then, Re­pub­lic­ans hoped, they would have con­trol of the Sen­ate and more con­trol of the pro­cess and po­ten­tially a great­er chance of cut­ting spend­ing.

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