The House is expected to vote on a short-term spending bill that includes a full year of defense funding and two years of funding for community health centers Tuesday, House leadership confirmed Monday evening.
Lawmakers have until Thursday to pass a stop-gap bill if they want to avert their second government shutdown of the year.
“We’re going to attach the DOD appropriations bill as well as community health center funding to a C.R. and send it over to the Senate tomorrow,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters Monday. “We’ve passed a number of defense appropriations bills and the Senate has yet to take action on any of them — so it’s about time that they confront the importance of funding our national defense.”
With Democrats looking to increase nondefense spending and reach an agreement on immigration that can pass both chambers before they are willing to agree on spending caps, the measure faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Senate Democrats have already begun floating stripping language on Pentagon spending for the bill if it passes the lower chamber.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said a bill that doesn’t increase non-defense discretionary spending is a non-starter.
“Maybe there are some on my side who don’t want to spend as much on defense as the Republican side does, but it’s a compromise. I for one appreciate that we need robust defense spending,” Schumer said in a floor speech Monday. “Now, sending a CRomnibus to the Senate, one that just funded defense and cut programs crucial to the middle class, would be barreling head first into a dead end.”
Scalise noted the House has passed 2018 defense appropriations multiple times, yet the Senate has failed to pass the measure.
“It’s time the Senate actually votes on it,” he said. “I don’t know how they’ll vote, but I mean you’re going to be voting to fund the national defense and its time to see where we would stand on that.”
While the measure provides federal funding through March 23, language addressing raising the debt ceiling will not be included in the bill.
“That’s all being discussed in the context of cap negotiations, which are separate,” Scalise said.