Three key questions ahead of House omnibus vote after Senate strikes $1.7T spending deal

Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Three key questions ahead of House omnibus vote after Senate strikes $1.7T spending deal

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The omnibus funding bill is heading to the House on Friday, where it is expected to pass just hours before a government shutdown kicks in.

The massive $1.7 trillion bill is being processed by the Senate as of Friday morning, but it will likely make it to the House before noon, when lawmakers can start floor proceedings for passage. However, there are several major questions to answer ahead of Congress’s last-minute push.

Here are three unanswered questions ahead of the dramatic deadline vote.

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Could anything derail passage?

The important thing to pass to avoid a shutdown is a simple continuing resolution that will keep government funding at current levels until Dec. 30. The House could technically run into next week if members don’t pass the omnibus that finishes out the fiscal year, but with the looming Christmas holiday, that seems unlikely.

Almost half the House isn’t even in Washington due to the holidays and the winter storm that grounded flights across the country, so the number of proxy votes could increase the time it takes to vote on the measures on Friday, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is allegedly planning to make a long speech against the bill to delay it further. However, the numbers for passage are almost certainly there.

What are Republican rebels planning?

Conservative Republicans have made their displeasure with the bill clear, especially given that they’ve had very little time to read over 4,000 pages of legislation. Several, including McCarthy, threatened GOP senators who voted for the bill by saying none of their legislative priorities would get help from Republican-majority leadership in the next Congress.

But on Friday, the biggest show of defiance will be McCarthy’s floor speech. As leader, he’s allowed to take as much time as he wants and could effectively filibuster the bill. Last year, he spoke for eight hours against President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. He reportedly isn’t trying to break his own record this time, but he will likely take his time outlining the Republican case against the bill.

Outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has ripped the California Republican this week for his stance against the spending deal. Hoyer warned that “playing games” in a future fight over the debt limit could be “catastrophic.”

“I don’t know what Mr. McCarthy is doing on the debt limit. I choose to believe that he understands how irresponsible and catastrophic it will be. He’s in a difficult position right now,” Hoyer said during a press conference. “The ramifications of playing games with the debt limit, and even if ultimately you approve it, the ramifications leading up to the uncertainty that is creating are damaging.”

Under pressure from his conservative flank, McCarthy has called for a stop-gap measure to avert a government shutdown so that Republicans can negotiate a longer-term solution after they retake the House in January.

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What comes next?

After the House passes the omnibus legislation, the clerk’s staff will need several days to file it and prepare it to be sent to Biden’s desk. Once passed, he will sign it into law next week.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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