House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen late Wednesday released a short-term spending bill that would give lawmakers an extra week to strike a final deal and avert a government shutdown.
In announcing the, top Republican appropriators in both chambers said lawmakers are close to an agreement that would fully fund the government through September, but they need more time to hash out final details before the Friday deadline for fiscal 2017 funding.
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Both spending committee chairmen — Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) — said lawmakers have made “substantial progress” toward an agreement. Frelinghuysen added that a short-term bill is needed to “finalize” the package.
“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon,” he said in a statement.
With just two days left until the spending deadline, lawmakers had been expected to pass such a week-long bill. But Democrats this week said they would refuse to back a short-term continuing resolution until it became clear both parties would reach a deal on updated spending levels for the remainder of fiscal 2017.
One of the final sticking points in those negotiations — the dispute over Obamacare subsidies — wasearlier Wednesday. But Democrats have argued there are still dozens of remaining items to reconcile.
In one preview of the full-year spending bill, Frelinghuysen announced that the short-term measure extends funding for a retired coal miners’ health insurance program that would have lapsed on April 29.
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