House expected to go first on stopgap funding

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Key Republicans said yesterday they expect the Senate will wait until the House passes a continuing resolution before scheduling a vote in the upper chamber.

House Republican leaders are expected to set up votes this week on abortion-related bills in an effort to mollify conservatives who are vowing to oppose any spending measures that fund Planned Parenthood, which sparked outrage after a series of videos surfaced showing its members allegedly trying to sell aborted fetal tissue for research.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said yesterday that the House is expected to move first on a CR after debating abortion.

“I think we’re anticipating what the House is going to do,” he told reporters. “I know they want to pass a couple of abortion-related bills to address the conduct that we saw in these horrific videos.”

But Cornyn added that the Senate will take matters into its own hands should the House fumble on moving a CR.

“Obviously, we all know what the deadline is, and I expect that deadline will be met,” he said. “It will probably be the case that the House will act first, but if it doesn’t work out, then the Senate will. But we’ll meet the deadline.”

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) told reporters yesterday that Senate Republican leaders have signaled the upper chamber will hold an abortion-related vote before the end of the month.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues to resist calls from conservatives to link the Planned Parenthood issue to the CR, noting that Democratic opposition means the measure would fall short of the 60 votes needed to surmount a filibuster. That risks another government shutdown at the end of the month — an outcome GOP leaders are desperate to avoid.

Referencing McConnell’s recent comments on the flap, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday he agreed the upcoming CR should be free of controversial riders.

“I agree that any budget bill must be clean, and I am glad to see Republican leaders coming around,” Reid said in floor remarks. “That means no riders, nothing with Planned Parenthood. Nothing with repealing what the Environmental Protection Agency has done. No repealing what the Dodd-Frank bill put into effect to stop us from having another Wall Street meltdown. No riders dealing with immigration. Just a clean continuing resolution for a short period of time to allow us to do a more full, more complete deal in the very near future.”