© Victoria Sarno Jordan
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that House negotiators are making progress on a deal to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month but that more than 100 issues remain.
“The number I know is 115,” Pelosi said, emphasizing it was an update she received the previous afternoon about a bipartisan budget deal.
“It went from 200 to 115, and now we’ll see [what progress the appropriators make] in the conversations they’re having," she said, while not offering specifics.
The House recessed on Thursday for an 18-day spring break, leaving negotiators with only four legislative days to pass a spending bill when lawmakers return to Washington at the end of the month.
If Congress does not pass a bill by April 28, large parts of the federal government will shut down the following day.
Republican leaders are facing pressure from conservative members to use the spending debate — the first must-pass spending bill since the GOP took control of the White House as well as Congress — to accomplish long-held campaign promises.
Conservatives are pushing for the deal to strip federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood and sharp reductions in funding for ObamaCare, environmental protections and Wall Street regulations.
Many conservative deficit hawks are also threatening to oppose any spending bill that busts spending caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
If more than 21 Republicans defect, GOP leaders will have to reach across the aisle for Democratic votes to keep the government running — something that appears more likely after last month's stunning defeat of a bill to repeal ObamaCare.
Pelosi acknowledged the GOP's internal struggles but emphasized that funding the government is much different than passing healthcare reform.
“It has been difficult for them. I would hope it will not be indicative of what [they do] on the continuing resolution,” she said, referring to a short-term funding bill. “The healthcare bill, they can do it or they can’t do it. But the continuing resolution is whether they keep the government open or not.”
Pelosi, a former appropriator, said she has faith in the bipartisan leaders of the Appropriations committees to reach a deal and prevent a shutdown — as long as the White House doesn’t hobble the process, she said.
“Being an appropriator myself ... you always try to get the job done in the most nonpartisan, bipartisan way. And I think left to their own devices, the members of the committee in a bipartisan way can do that. It’s just a question of what, above that pay grade, how that weighs in,” she said.
“My read on it is that members of Congress know what they can pass,” she added.
“Maybe the White House doesn’t, and that line of communication is where you might see some more difference of opinion than even between Democrats and Republicans in the Congress.”
Tags Nancy Pelosi