Republican lawmakers continue to grapple with the length of the must-pass continuing resolution as the Dec. 8 deadline to pass a measure to keep the government funded quickly approaches.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is advocating for a Dec. 22 deadline, providing a two-week extension to continue negotiations on a longer-term spending bill.
“As you already know, Pelosi, Schumer, Ryan and I have a meeting with the president on Thursday,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “What we anticipate is a two-week CR.”
Members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing for the stop-gap bill to run through Dec. 30, arguing additional time is needed to work out a deal since Congress is tasked with dealing with other time-sensitive issues before the end of the year.
A number of members of the powerful conservative group threatened to withhold their votes on the motion to conference tax reform in an attempt to push back the deadline. HFC Chairman Mark Meadows said the group plans to meet Thursday morning to discuss the scenarios laid out to them by leadership.
“I don’t expect any official positions, but I certainly expect a robust discussion on tactics and strategy,” Meadows told reporters Tuesday. “I am [in favor of the Dec. 30 deadline], but obviously that’s not where the majority of the conference is.”
While McConnell said he doesn’t think conservative’s proposal to extend the deadline is “the best way to go forward,” Republican leadership in the lower chamber appears to be more open to the idea. Members from all factions of the party said conversations in the House have been productive and informative.
“Well, you have all different pockets thinking about different areas, so it was good to talk through the complete strategy,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters. “Whatever gets 218 to get it done this month I’m fine with.”
Meadows said he’s confident there won’t be a government shutdown, adding he believes anything voted on at the end of the week will likely be a clean CR.