House Pushes Stopgap Spending Measure
On Tuesday, the House unveiled legislation that would extend the government's spending authority until December 15. Current law authorizing government spending expires on September 30, meaning that the government would shutdown after that date is spending authority weren't extended. The House measure is meant to put off debate over a government shutdown until after a deal is reached on the debt ceiling.
The plan released by the House would continue government discretionary spending at current levels, while also codifying the sequester spending cuts. The measure, with the sequester cuts, would bring discretionary spending back to levels seen in 2008. Discretionary spending, however, is not the main driver of the budget.
Conservatives, over the summer, have waged a campaign to "defund" provisions related to ObamaCare. As the implementation of the law approaches, conservatives see this effort as a last chance to stop Obama's sweeping rewrite of the nation's health care industry. House Leadership has planned, at best, on on-side kick.
According to plans revealed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House will pass a clean reauthorization of federal spending, including programs related to ObamaCare. It will also pass a separate resolution defunding the ObamaCare programs. The "clean" resolution will not be sent to the Senate until that chamber has debated and voted on the measure to defund Obamacare.
Under the GOP Leadership plan, once the Senate votes to fund ObamaCare, the "clean" resolution authorizing government spending through December, would be sent to that chamber for a vote. The Senate is likely to pass the House plan, preserving its political capital for the fight over the debt ceiling next month.
The release of the House legislation is the first step in the Fall's fiscal wars. As prospects of an actual war in Syria recede, brinkmanship is returning to spending and debt issues. September will be a long month.