The Countdown is On…Again

Once again, we find ourselves wondering whether Congress will take a big step forward and pass an Omnibus spending bill before the December 11th deadline…or decide to delay their decision once again by authorizing another short term Continuing Resolution.  Even the White House would be agreeable to another Continuing Resolution (CR) according to the Press Secretary — as long as it is a short one.  While a government shutdown is always a possibility, few believe that it will actually take place this time around.

Leaders in both chambers say that they are working long and hard to finalize a spending plan that reflects key Administration priorities as well as key issues important to the Congressional majority.  Whether that will take place by the end of next week remains to be seen.  As retiring Senate Appropriator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said, “We’ve got the omni but we don’t have the bus.”  Neither chamber is ready to hold floor discussions and are signaling that major deliberations won’t happen until next week.  Chief House Appropriator Hal Rogers (R-KY) has announced that he hopes to post a complete omnibus package on Monday.  Following recent House tradition, that means that the House would vote on a final bill on Wednesday which leaves very little time for the Senate to deliberate and no room to resolve any unanticipated complications such as policy riders…by midnight on Friday.