WASHINGTON (AP) — Hard-right conservatives are rebelling against a plan by House GOP leaders for a two-week reprieve from a possible government shutdown next week.
Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders want to set a new government shutdown deadline just prior to Christmas to give time for talks with Democrats on the budget, hurricane relief and other unfinished business. Right now, Washington faces a Dec. 8 deadline.
But conservatives said Friday that they fear the new Dec. 22 deadline means they'll get legislation they don't like jammed through.
Democrats won't commit to helping the GOP pass the two-week funding bill. They want assurances that immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children will be given protection from deportation — and many insist that it pass this year.
If Democrats don't provide the votes to prevent a shutdown, Republicans would have to pass a temporary spending bill, known as a "continuing resolution," on their own.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy insists "it'll be fine" and that they want to get all the work done.
"Look, two weeks isn't very long," said McCarthy, R-Calif. "We want to keep up the pressure up."
But conservatives fear a torrent of spending bills and legislation to shore up Obamacare insurance markets, and also worry that immigration issues would be addressed in the year-end crunch.
"I am a hard no on any (continuing resolution) ending the week of Christmas," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. "That tells me that they have an absolutely horrible bill that they want to try to jam through."
With the additional two weeks, congressional leaders in both parties hope that talks over spending could produce the framework for a longer-term "omnibus" appropriations bill. That legislation would award the Pentagon and domestic agencies with spending increases that could total more than $100 billion in 2018 alone. There's other unfinished business too, including reauthorization for a popular childrens' health program and tens of billions of dollars in aid for states and U.S. territories slammed by hurricanes.
A temporary government funding bill spending runs out Dec. 8. Some conservatives are even suggesting that Congress work Christmas week rather than face pre-Christmas deadline pressure.
The GOP plan is for a stopgap measure that's "clean" of unrelated add-ons — with one exception. That would be a technical tweak to the Children's Health Insurance Program to prevent a handful of states that are about to run out of funding to stay solvent through Dec. 22 as well.
Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget held a call Friday with federal agencies to discuss contingency plans ahead of a potential shutdown. It's a required step that happens regardless of whether a shutdown appears imminent.