Paul Ryan’s precarious tight-rope walk with House conservatives

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

7 things to know now: Government spending bill; ‘Grateful Doe’ mystery; last nude Playboy issue.

WASHINGTON — Congress sent President Barack Obama a short-term spending bill to keep the government open through next Wednesday as lawmakers and the White House rushed to finalize a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill and a sprawling tax package. Congressional leaders had hoped to pass a $1.15 trillion bill funding the full fiscal year 2016 by Friday, but have been bogged down for weeks over which policy measures, known as “riders,” will be included in the bill. “At this point it is unfortunately necessary for us to have a little more time to complete our negotiations,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) said on the House floor Friday.

The Senate passed the short-term extension by voice vote on Thursday. “I hope we take this new time period to avoid a shutdown permanently rather than just do it (temporarily) again and again and again,” said Jared Polis, D-Colo., a member of the House Rules Committee. The House is scheduled to vote on the relatively non-controversial bill Friday, clearing the way for tax and spending talks to bleed into the weekend. Dozens of issues remain unresolved, most of them policy disputes over environmental and other issues that lawmakers of both parties are trying to attach to the must-pass spending legislation. Lawmakers voted in September to set Dec. 11 as the deadline for passing a spending bill when they were unable to do it by the start of the 2016 fiscal year on Oct. 1. Republicans are seeking to lift the oil export ban and roll back various Obama administration regulations; Democrats are maneuvering to protect Obama’s environmental rules and enact permanent tax credits for wind, solar and other renewable energy. “We’re not going to get everything we want in negotiations.

They are pushing to lift a 40-year-old ban on oil exports, roll back some of the Obama administration’s environmental and financial regulations, and halt the admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq while the administration overhauls the refugee-vetting process. It became clear last week that lawmakers would not be able to meet the Dec. 11 deadline because of disagreements over policy riders attached to the bill. But Democrats, whose votes will be needed to pass the bill in both chambers, have said they would only support legislation stripped of any objectionable GOP policy measures. “Republicans’ insistence on including dangerous, harmful policies in the spending bill has halted progress,” Rep. Democrats object to efforts by Republicans to block new environmental rules to reduce power plant emissions, weaken regulations governing the financial-services industry, and make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to flee to the U.S.

Gun ban in Connecticut: Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy says he will sign an executive order banning the sale of guns to people who are on any U.S. government’s watch lists. State police would have to review whether a potential gun purchaser was on a federal no-fly list or a watch list for people suspected of ties to terrorism. The spending legislation, which funds the government through the 2016 budget year, has become increasingly intertwined with the tax bill, which could deliver a political victory for both sides.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has said he would not waive a House rule that requires legislation to be posted two days before the chamber votes on it. House of Representatives…Give the American people what they deserve: some peace, quiet and certainty in the Christmas season.” Congress is slated to adjourn for the year by the end of next week, and finishing the huge omnibus spending bill is the last big priority before lawmakers head home for the holidays. Uncertainty remained as to whether lawmakers would pull off a major tax bill with permanent extensions benefiting both sides, or simply opt for a two-year extension of existing tax breaks. The House had been expected to vote before leaving town on final passage of a budget bill that would have repealed key sections of Obamacare and stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood. House Republicans involved in the talks believe Obama’s backseat approach has allowed negotiations to progress more smoothly than if he was involved, a GOP aide said.

Earnest signaled that White House officials have only weighed in about what Obama would support — or not veto — describing the meat of the talks as “members of Congress negotiating among themselves.” The president “is certainly aware of what’s going on,” Earnest said. He said sticking points relate to labor and environmental issues, and to a campaign finance provision pushed by his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to lift certain spending limits by party committees. There is growing bipartisan support to delay a tax on expensive employer-sponsored health plans as part of a year end tax deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. Making passports: Government officials are warning that ISIS may have a passport printing machine and “boxes of blank passports” which it is using to make fake Syrian passports. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said negotiators were down to about 40 riders after starting with 202.

But more of them have rallied to support a delay because of pressure from businesses and unions, whose members often enjoy generous employer health plans that would be subject to the tax. She contended Democrats proposed just a few, “and ours were very reasonable.” House Democrats, who’ve sought to draw attention to their push for gun control legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings, emphasized a new demand during the day as they announced their opposition to any bill that doesn’t undo a longstanding provision that has been interpreted to block the Centers for Disease Control from conducting research on gun violence. “My understanding from them is they need Democratic votes to pass it.

So we will have to come to terms to do that,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “Don’t expect us to vote for a bill that has a ban in it.

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