Why Congress Is Pushing Back Govt. Shutdown Deadline
Lawmakers are still negotiating over tax breaks and 9/11 responder healthcare.
By BENJAMIN SIEGEL
December 11, 2015, 8:21 PM
• 4 min read
-- With negotiations pushing against the Friday deadline to fund the government, the House passed a short-term funding measure by voice vote Friday to avert a government shutdown and give Congress until next Wednesday to pass a $1 trillion-plus spending bill.
The Senate passed the short-term funding extension Thursday as lawmakers continue to negotiate over expiring tax breaks, gun control research and funding for 9/11 responder healthcare. President Obama is expected to sign the measure before the midnight deadline.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, (R-Kentucky), said Friday on the House floor that negotiators were making “good progress” on a deal, but that there are “still many moving pieces" as both sides haggle over the details.
Republicans are seeking to lift the oil export ban and various financial and environmental regulations, and also want to address security concerns about Syrian refugees, while Democrats want to protect administration environmental and labor rules.
The fight is complicated by parallel negotiations over extending a series of expiring tax breaks, known as extenders. On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would not support a combined tax extender-omnibus deal. (House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said the two would likely be passed separately, but that no decision has been made.)
Pelosi, who said both sides were working towards a spending deal, said many House Democrats would not support a deal to make some breaks permanent that did not index earned income and child tax credits to inflation.
In the wake of shootings in California and Colorado, the California Democrat is also calling on Republicans to end a 19-year ban on federally-funded gun violence research.
Additionally, a bipartisan effort from New York area lawmakers to reauthorize funding for 9/11 first responder healthcare is also a part of ongoing spending negotiations.