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Appropriators to Consider ‘Scalpel’ Approach

In light of President Obama’s determination to deal with immigration issues through Executive Order, Congressional appropriators are struggling to find an overall funding approach that would allow the government to continue operations despite various challenges and party politics. In the House, Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) continues to press for a full 12-bill Omnibus appropriations measure. However, that seems to be less likely to find support among the most conservative Republicans who’d prefer to issue a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) to cover the period until they have full control of both chambers. A compromise or “scalpel” approach seems to be gaining ground. This approach would have Congress fund most of the FY 15 appropriations categories via an Omnibus bill but carve out those agencies that have immigration responsibilities and fund them through a short term CR. This approach would allow most Federal agencies to move ahead with their responsibilities and prevent a government wide shutdown. Of course, this direction also presumes that the President would not veto the Omnibus or that, if he does veto the bill, the Republicans could find enough votes to override it – a very heavy lift.