Update: Stopgap Spending Bill

December 1, 2021

Democrats and Republicans continue to haggle over details of a stopgap spending bill that appears likely to run into late January at a minimum, with Republicans still trying to extend the duration into February or March. Both sides want to avoid a government shutdown, but neither are making huge concessions.

On Nov. 30, Democrats offered to Republicans a new proposal that would extend the current spending bill through Jan. 28 in order to give lawmakers time to complete all 12 independent appropriations bills. Extending the continuing resolution into late January would represent a compromise between Rep. DeLauro (D-Conn.), who previously was pushing for a shorter two-week CR, and senators from both parties who say more time is needed to wrap up work on fiscal 2022 appropriations bills. However, Republicans have yet to accept the compromise.

A deal is expected as soon as later today, as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has included the CR on the list of possible votes for Wednesday, so Democratic leaders are ready to get moving. That would presumably give the Senate enough time to clear it for President Joe Biden’s signature before the current stopgap funding law expires on Friday.

The stopgap measure is expected to contain minimal tweaks to current spending levels, or “anomalies,” according to sources. Anomalies are provisions that allow federal agencies to alter their spending levels and start projects they would not otherwise be allowed to under CRs, alleviating some of the frustration with what is supposed to be a fallback measure.

Before Thanksgiving, Rep. DeLauro said she did not want any anomalies in the CR, as a means of keeping the pressure on lawmakers to compromise and finish the full-year bills. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent lawmakers a list of anomalies earlier this month that would be needed under a February stopgap bill. Hanging over the talks is the possibility of a full-year CR, which would generally continue spending at fiscal 2021 levels if the House and Senate cannot reach agreement.

A full-year stopgap for all 12 appropriations bills would be unprecedented in modern budget history but would preserve anti-abortion language and other policies that were agreed to when Donald Trump was president.