Sen. Shelby: Congress Probably Headed for Another Stopgap Funding Bill

Congress is “probably headed” for another stopgap bill to keep the government funded, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Thursday.

“I think we’re probably headed that direction anyway, whether it’s going to be a longer one or a shorter one,” Shelby, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters.

“And that would depend on the leadership … on where we are, if we are anywhere in our negotiations.”

Lawmakers have until midnight on Feb. 18 to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.

The Senate in December passed a continuing resolution to keep the government operating with a 69-28 vote, more than the 60 votes needed to pass, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., want to pass an appropriations measure with new funding levels.

“To go to a continuing resolution instead of a decision-making omnibus bill is to weaken our security and our stability,” Pelosi said at her weekly briefing last week. “The Republicans should know that. So, we hope that we will be able to bring that legislation to the floor before it expires.”

The House has so far passed nine of 12 appropriations bills to fund the government, but the Senate has not supported any of the measures.

Shelby on Wednesday said negotiators were still working to come to an agreement on defense funding and policy “riders,” or controversial spending stipulations like the Hyde amendment ban on funding abortion, per Politico.

“We’re not there yet,” Shelby said. “Maybe we’ll get there, maybe we won’t.”

The House could vote as early as next week on a stopgap measure, though, according to Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

Shelby told reporters that leadership will need to come to an agreement on the duration of a potential continuing resolution.

“That’d be up to [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell to work that out. But if it’s a short term [continuing resolution] that would mean probably that we’re making some progress,” Shelby told The Hill.

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