Long-Term CR Likely

On the federal budget, the Republican leadership’s plan is to “get it into the next administration and then finish the job there,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said last week. The continuing resolution funding the federal government expires Friday. Ryan’s comments in his weekly press briefing suggested that it is highly likely Congress will approve another temporary continuing resolution, instead of a full budget, before week’s end. Ryan also indicated that a new continuing resolution is likely to be longer than anticipated in large part because of the Senate’s confirmation calendar. “They’ve got to stand up a Trump government,” Ryan said. “So the Senate is going to have to do all these confirmation votes and hearings on cabinet and sub-cabinet officers,” and probably “a Supreme Court pick” as well. “That takes a lot of their time.”

Even though a short-term continuing resolution is “not a problem for us” procedurally, GOP leadership prefers to wait out the lame duck session in order to talk budget with the incoming Trump Administration, noted Ryan. “We wanted to bring the new Republican government into place so we can negotiate appropriations with that government … We think [it’s] going to be much better negotiations than the existing government, which we have a lot of problems with the way they spend money. It’s just that simple,” he said. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James have recently warned that a long-term continuing resolution would have serious impact on the Pentagon’s ability to develop new programs and sustain readiness of existing ones.