While Democrats have proposed keeping the government funded until sometime in January, Republicans are pushing for a longer stopgap solution. They argue that the two sides will need more time to negotiate a sweeping financing deal that updates spending levels for the Pentagon and every domestic agency of the federal government.
“The question is not January … or February, or even March,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), his party’s chief usurper in the Senate. “I think the real question is: when are we going to sit down to talk about substance?”
A Senate GOP official said on Tuesday afternoon minority party leaders are seeking “an appropriate amount of time” to work through cross-party negotiations over a broader financing package. “For long-term success, [a stopgap] that gives enough leeway is important in the short term,” said the Republican aide.
Republicans say those talks will take longer than usual this year as Democrats push for historic increases in non-defense spending and won’t yield upfront to GOP demands — such as including the Hyde amendment, a Republicans led policies forbidding the use of federal funding to perform abortions.
A top Democratic adviser to the House of Representatives said on Tuesday that Republicans in both chambers have “refused to negotiate” on government funding all year. “…while the House and Senate Democrats have submitted their proposals, the Republicans themselves have made no offers,” said Evan Hollander, the majority party’s lead spokesperson for the House Appropriation Committee.
Aside from that dispute over the length of the funding patch, Democrats and Republicans still disagree about which exceptions will be included in the bill. Leaders have discussed several so-called “anomalies,” including adding funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Afghan resettlement efforts and raising wages for congressional personnel. The legislation could also include provisions to prevent cuts to programs such as Medicare and farm subsidies.
Republican leaders have been debating how to negotiate the next spending patch for weeks, as Democrats publicly called on them to counter-offer their proposed financing bills.
The GOP has threatened to eventually force Democrats into a year-round stopgap if the majority party doesn’t give in to a slew of Republican funding demands before broader negotiations even begin.
“We’re not going to substantively talk to them about moving the bill, not just about a CR, until they take it seriously,” Shelby said this week.
Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle contributed to this report.