US Republicans expect no votes on stopgap this week as shutdown looms

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives said they do not expect to move forward this week on a stopgap funding measure to keep federal agencies open, even with a possible government shutdown just 10 days away.

Instead, House Speaker Mike Johnson was due to present at least three options for a stopgap known as a continuing resolution, or “CR,” to lawmakers at a closed-door Republican conference on Tuesday morning, the lawmakers said.

Funding for government operations is due to expire on Nov. 17 unless Congress agrees on a temporary spending measure that President Joe Biden can sign into law before the deadline. Otherwise, federal agencies will have to close their doors for an indefinite period.

But with this week already shortened by a Veterans Day observance on Friday, three Republican lawmakers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the House was unlikely to approve a CR this week. One lawmaker said a Republican policy of waiting three days before voting on legislation left little time to act this week.

House Republicans are due to focus the agenda for the week on passing their own partisan appropriations bills for 2024.

Another lawmaker said Republicans are considering at least three options for structuring a CR, including a “laddered” option that would assign separate deadlines in December and January by which time the House and Senate would hammer out compromise legislation on specific 2024 appropriations bills. Details were uncertain.

Republicans will also consider a more conventional CR that would run to a Jan. 19, leaving December for lawmakers to work on appropriations bills and supplemental funding requests including Israel, Ukraine and other priorities.

The lawmaker said a third option would be to negotiate with the Democratic-led Senate on a CR that can pass both chambers quickly.

The House has passed seven of 12 appropriations bills for 2024 and will try to pass another two this week, aimed at funding transportation, housing and urban development; and financial services. The Senate has passed three appropriations bills in a package known as a minibus.

While the Senate legislation enjoys strong bipartisan support, the House has passed only partisan Republican measures opposed by Democrats.

Only one category of appropriations legislation, covering military construction and veterans benefits, has passed both chambers in markedly different forms.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Stephen Coates)