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Congress Readies 3-Day CR; Full Defense Bill is Complete

Jan. 10, 2014 - 02:27PM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
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WASHINGTON — Congressional appropriators have completed a full 2014 Pentagon spending bill that will be part of a massive government appropriations measure, sources say. That omnibus measure, however, won’t pass before a Jan. 15 deadline, forcing lawmakers to first adopt a three-day stopgap funding measure.

The leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are building an omnibus spending measure that is expected to include 12 department-specific appropriations bills that will run through Sept. 30. That will include a full Pentagon appropriations measure, congressional aides say.

Industry and congressional sources tell Defense News the defense appropriations measure is complete, and the Appropriations chairs and staff have moved on to other outstanding items.

“I can confirm that Defense is done, but the whole bill is still being worked on,” a Senate aide said Friday. “We can’t say anything about the contents until we are finished. Maybe in a few days.”

A few days, congressional sources confirmed Friday, means appropriators expect to not finish the entire 2014 omnibus measure in time for both chambers to approve it before the current government-funding bill expires on Jan. 15.

House and Senate aides say to keep the government open as the omnibus works its way to passage, the appropriators are readying a three-day continuing resolution that would run through Jan. 18.

The House is likely to take up the omnbius first, then send it to the Senate, which likely would approve it late in the week.

“We’re making solid progress and I’m confident that next week we’ll have a bipartisan agreement that finds common ground,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said Friday in a statement. “This very short extension is needed to prevent any funding gaps as the agreement moves through the House and Senate next week.”

Sources say both political parties have little interest in another government shutdown, fearing blowback at the polls in November.

The bipartisan budget plan approved late last month set a discretionary defense spending level of $520.5 billion. After a reduced sequester cut, the Pentagon will get around $498 billion for fiscal 2014.■

Email: jbennett@defensenews.com.

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