SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The U.S. House’s No. 2 Republican said Saturday that for Congress to make a two-year deal to ease budget caps for defense, Congress must pass a proposed two-week stopgap spending measure.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, acknowledged that continuing resolutions are harmful to the Pentagon, but said, “we’ll be able to put that pressure, get an agreement, not just for this year but next year as well, and we’ll get out of this mess.”

“I cannot tell you there will not be another CR, because there will be another CR...there will be another CR next week. It will be a two-week CR so we can stop having CRs for the future,” said McCarthy of California.

“The only reason we’re going into a two-week CR is because we’re in negotiations on the caps,” McCarthy said.

On Saturday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Freylinghuysen, R-N.J., proposed a CR that runs through Dec. 22.

To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers must pass a budget deal or a new CR before the current one runs out Dec. 8.

Lawmakers are reportedly considering a GOP proposal of a two-year budget deal that would raise 2011 Budget Control Act caps for defense by $54 billion and nondefense funds by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019.

In recent weeks, Congressional defense hawks have argued against that number for defense because it would fall below the top-line of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House and Senate earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers have insisted on parity between the defense and non-defense sides of the budget.

McCarthy pushed back at that idea, saying, “You should fund your military with what you need to accomplish to protect you from the threats; that’s what you should decide the number upon, and that’s the argument of where we’re going.”

Joe Gould is the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He served previously as Congress reporter.

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