WASHINGTON — The US Senate passed a measure Thursday to extend funding for the federal government into next week to avoid a shutdown on Friday and buy more time for budget negotiations.
The House is expected to take up the measure Friday.
"While progress is being made on negotiations for a full-year omnibus appropriations bill, it is clear that more time is needed to complete the package," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said in a statement.
With the clock ticking, US defense contractors and government workers in particular are watching the process. Rep. Don Beyer, whose suburban Virginia district includes many such workers and businesses, expressed optimism Thursday that a deal would be reached soon.
"A shutdown would be terrible for our constituents, both the government contractors and the federal employees, and all the businesses; we just saw September was a pretty weak month in Northern Virginia just for fear of the shutdown," said Beyer, D-Va. "If I look at it from a General Dynamics, Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, BAE perspective, it's really important that we get a budget now."
"It's not nonchalance, it's getting it right." said Ryan, R-Wis. "This is a trillion dollars we're dealing with. Hardworking taxpayers work hard to send us our tax dollars. We have to respect that."
Last Wednesday, House Democratic leaders rejected a Republican-crafted spending bill over its inclusion of more than 30 policy riders. Any legislation needs a substantial number of Democrats to pass in the House because — despite Republican majorities in both houses — Speaker Ryan, like his predecessor John Boehner, can deliver a small portion of his unruly caucus.
Both sides have accused the other of being unreasonable and blocking a deal.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said it is "perfectly reasonable that Republicans in this majority" would want to pursue a policy agenda separate from the Democrats.
Earnest said Republicans are "on the verge of shutting down the government, which would also risk funding for national security and homeland security."
"It's in their court, if they accept our offer, we can do it this afternoon," she said.
"I'm disappointed because when we left here on Thursday [Dec. 3], I thought we had momentum," Mikulski said.
Although Republicans have majorities in both houses, Speaker Ryan, R-Wis., like his predecessor John Boehner, can deliver a small portion of his unruly caucus. Therefore, any legislation needs a substantial number of Democrats to pass in the House.
Last Wednesday, House Democratic leaders rejected a Republican-crafted spending bill over its inclusion of more than 30 policy riders.
Joe Gould is senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.