House drafts CR that would extend funding through Nov. 21

By Tony Bertuca  
September 11, 2019 at 1:58 PM

The House has drafted a stopgap continuing resolution that would keep the federal government funded through Nov. 21.

"We've coalesced around a Nov. 21 end date," House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said.

Under a CR, the Pentagon's budget is locked at previous-year levels and is prohibited from starting new programs or increasing the production of weapon systems.

Additionally, Hollander said the CR would not provide any exemptions for the White House's request to use Customs and Border Protection funds to build sections of the southern border wall outside of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

The House is expected to vote on the CR next week.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has warned that a CR would have a negative impact on the Pentagon.

"It is vital, however, that Congress passes the [defense authorization] and defense appropriations bills on time for the coming year," he said during an Aug. 28 Pentagon press conference. "As I've expressed to members of the Congress on many occasions -- to include yesterday -- continuing resolutions harm our military readiness and stifle our modernization efforts. As such, I urge Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure the defense bills are passed by Oct. 1."

It is unlikely Congress will be able to meet the Oct. 1 deadline, given that Senate appropriators have yet to advance any spending bills and appear stalled at the subcommittee-level over disagreements about funding President Trump’s border wall and other items lawmakers have deemed "poison pills."

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill tomorrow. Democrats have indicated they will vote against the bill if it does not restrict the Pentagon's authority to divert funds to build the border wall.