Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.”
They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.
GOP leaders called a recess to floor proceedings, with a GOP leadership aide confirming “no conference meeting [is] planned at this time.” The aide said “leadership teams are still talking to their respective members,” and noted, “We still plan to vote this afternoon.”
It’s not clear, however, what they will be voting on.
If Republicans can’t surmount the impasse, they could decide to proceed with swiftly moving a short-term continuing resolution through the chamber, which the Senate could also pass before 11:59 p.m., when current funding expires.
In doing so, they would be throwing away months of hard-fought negotiations between appropriators and dashing dreams of a return to regular order when the GOP takes control of all of Capitol Hill in the new year.
White House budget office holds call to prepare for shutdown
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Thursday held a conference call with government agencies and departments to prepare them for a possible shutdown, as the House struggles to pass a funding bill.
"Congress is taking a series of actions today on legislation that would prevent a lapse in appropriations and allow for continued Government operations. We continue to believe that time remains for Congress to pass full-year appropriations for FY 2015, and prevent a government shutdown," an OMB official said in a statement.
"However, out of an abundance of caution, we are working with agencies and taking steps to prepare for all contingencies, including a potential lapse in funding.”
While the White House still doesn't believe a shutdown is likely, the call came as lawmakers looked for the votes to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled earlier this week.
While President Obama backed the bill despite provisions that would roll back elements of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and reduce limits on campaign contributions, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would not be backing the legislation.
“I’m enormously disappointed that the White House feels that the only way they can get a bill is to go along with this. That would be the only reason I think they would say they would sign such a bill,” Pelosi said.
In a subsequent "Dear Colleague" letter, the Democratic leader said it was "that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus."
The House went into recess Thursday afternoon shortly after a harrowing vote to approve the House rule governing debate on the spending package, which was approved 214-212 only after intense lobbying by Republican leadership.