Top Conservative: 40-Day CR Extension Amendment Would Meet Leadership Halfway

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said Monday the amendment he is slated to introduce alongside House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan designed to dodge a government shutdown in December is something leadership should get behind.

The amendment would automatically extend current spending levels by 40 days, until Jan. 18 if the continuing resolution (CR) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell passes — if Congress is unable to complete its spending bills.

“Really what we’re looking at is just trying to give some flexibility and also a backstop so that we’re not focusing on a government shutdown while we’re negotiating trying to find conservative solutions and the other side while their negotiation as well,” Meadows told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Despite conservatives’ push for a long-term continuing resolution — who argue it should run into next year, after the lame-duck session is over — GOP leadership has leaned toward passing a short-term CR ending in mid-December in conjunction with a series of “minibuses” to add transparency to the budget process.

“I would think that they (leadership) would welcome this, because this does not stop us from doing our business in December, I mean, if we can come up with several minibuses and pass it and come up with funding for the rest of the year, this amendment wouldn’t kick in. So this amendment is kind of meeting leadership half way. It’s going from our demand for a long-term CR to being willing to vote for a short-term CR with a backstop that keeps us from having any shutdown discussion,” Meadows said.

Meadows told reporters it’s possible if the Senate doesn’t pass the continuing resolution in coming days, the House could introduce a stop-gap measure running somewhere between three and nine days while they work out a deal, which could act as a vehicle for the amendment. Despite Friday’s looming deadline, he doesn’t see a government shutdown happening.

“I don’t see any scenario where we shut down, it’s a great question, but really what this does is takes it off the table for later and if we were to start on our side and take some of the framework that has been worked on in the Senate about have this amendment be offered there and the same goes in the Senate — I think we could have a lot of bipartisan support, it gives us more time to work on the Flint, Mich. thing through WRDA as well,” he said.

It’s possible if the Senate doesn’t finish its work on the CR, the House will act on a stop-gap measure lasting somewhere between three and nine days while Congress continues negotiations, according to Meadows. But that would mean we would be coming back.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the reporters Monday he has not gotten a chance to look at the proposal yet, but said “they’re (House Freedom Caucus members) creative people.”

“I’m glad he recognizes my creative flare,” Meadows said.

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