9 December 2015 Legislative News Update
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Thursday when Congress is in session.
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
What should happen: Congress will pass an omnibus spending package to fund the Defense Department and the rest of the government by the Dec. 11 deadline.
What will happen: Congress will pass another short-term continuing resolution giving them time beyond the Friday deadline to work out their issues.
Their issues are so-called “poison pill” provisions attached to the measure that are related to matters such as abortion, campaign finance restrictions and refugees. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee said that negotiations are currently in a “frozen state.”
Some Republicans have urged Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to advance a stop-gap spending measure that would carry government funding through the holidays; however, Ryan isn’t buying it. He said the short-term continuing resolution “will be a handful of days,” and that “We don’t expect to do this for a long term. We need to get it right. I don’t want us to go home until we get this done.”
It is expected that the short-term continuing resolution would only extend to Dec. 18.
Meanwhile, the Defense Secretary is urging Congress to pass the omnibus before the Friday deadline.
In a statement, Secretary Ashton Carter said “At a time when our security environment demands a dynamic and agile military, it is vital that negotiations on Capitol Hill arrive at an agreement to fund all of government for the remainder of the fiscal year, consistent with the funding levels set in the budget agreement achieved earlier this year.
"Further delaying such funding will do real harm. As I have said before, a continuing resolution is a straitjacket for the Department of Defense," said Carter. "It prevents us from fielding a modern, ready force in a balanced way, while embracing reform to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is well spent.
"It harms our ability to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIL and to confront the many complex national security challenges around the world. Failure to act sends the wrong message to our troops, our allies and our enemies," Carter added.
"There will be ample opportunities for extraneous policy fights in the future, but at this time, Congress must set aside such fights and prioritize our security by funding all of government," Carter said.