McConnell plans funding bill through Dec. 9

Source: Arianna Skibell, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today said the Senate will work toward a short-term spending bill to keep the government running when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

“The single biggest business we need to conduct here is to get the government funded through the end of the fiscal year,” he told reporters. “We’re going to work towards the Dec. 9 date at last year’s levels.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had said Democrats would block any continuing resolution that extends into next year.

McConnell’s comment marks a departure from some Senate Republicans and conservatives in the House who favor a longer CR that would extend into the spring, allowing the next Congress and a new president to set longer-term spending.

Senators from both parties said they hope to begin negotiations over specifics in the bill next week, including money to combat the Zika virus.

Senate Democrats last night blocked the chamber from moving forward on a military construction and veterans affairs spending measure with $1.1 billion for Zika (E&E Daily, Sept. 7). They are pushing for alternative language.

Despite the recent disagreements, McConnell said he is optimistic. “We’re looking for a way forward,” he said.

Reporters Geof Koss and George Cahlink contributed.