Ryan: Omnibus Spending Bill, Due Dec. 11, Will Be Done 'Right,' Not 'Fast'

By Susan Jones | December 8, 2015 | 11:29am EST
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "Congress needs to pass a budget (omnibus appropriations bill) on time," the Obama White House insisted on Monday. On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he will not let the "arbitrary Dec. 11th deadline stop us from getting this right."

"These negotiations are ongoing, Ryan told a news conference Tuesday morning. "We know that we're going to get it right, instead of get it done fast.

"We are not going to waive the three-day rule," Ryan said, referring to a 2010 Republican pledge to give the public three days to read a bill before voting on it. (But as CNSNews.com reported, delaying a vote until "the third calendar day," as the Republican pledge specifies, has not always meant a full 72 hours.)

"We're going to make sure that members of Congress and therefore the public have the time to read what is agreed to," Ryan said. "But we're not going to let the arbitrary December 11 deadline stop us from getting this right.  We're going to get the best agreement we can possibly get, and those negotiations are ongoing. And I'm not going to negotiate through the media."

A reporter asked Ryan how much about a short-term continuing resolution he would need to keep the government funded beyond Dec. 11:

"That's something that the leaders along with our folks at the other side of the Capitol will look at, but it will be a handful of days. We don't expect to do this for the long term. We need to get it right.

"I don't want us to go home until we get this done," Ryan said.

The Obama White House on Monday said it will insist that Congress stick to its Dec. 11 deadline: "[T]he president's not going to sign a CR that will give members of Congress additional time to negotiate. That's essentially sort of where we are," Josh Earnest told reporters.

It's another case of brinksmanship: With Republicans unlikely to produce an omnibus spending by midnight Dec. 11 and Obama unlikely to sign a temporary stop-gap bill, both sides can accuse the other of shutting down the government.

At the White House on Monday, spokesman Josh Earnest warned that "shutting down the government is not going to enhance our national security," Earnest said. He said it is Congress's "responsibility...to step forward and do their job and pass a budget for the United States government on time.

"And that is going to require Republican in Congress abandoning their ongoing effort to advance their ideological agenda through the budgetary process."

He was referring to "ideological riders" attached to the must-pass spending legislation.

When Earnest opened the floor to questions, a reporter asked him, "Has the president spoken to Speaker Ryan? As far as we know, they haven't met face-to-face since Speaker Ryan took office."

"They've had a -- the opportunity to speak a number of times, but it's correct that they haven't had any meetings," Earnest responded. "The -- this is a process right now that rests with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill."

Earnest noted that "Speaker Ryan is the leader of a substantial majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senator McConnell is the leader of a substantial majority of Republicans in the United States Senator, and they have a significant responsibility to work with Democrats to advance a bipartisan budget agreement."

Earnest said the "hard work" of agreeing on a budget blueprint has been done, and now "it's just time to finish the job and to do so before the end of the week."

Earnest said President Obama will not sign another temporary spending bill as he did a few months ago: "The continuing resolution he signed this fall was to give Congress additional time to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement, and that's why the CR wasn't just a couple of weeks, but it was actually a couple of months, to give them ample time to sit down, Democrats and Republicans, and hammer out the topline numbers and then work through the individual numbers below that.

"And the president was quite clear at that point that he would not sign another like that, and he -- that is -- that continues to be his position today."

Earnest said the deadline is midnight Friday, but if an agreement is reached at 11:30 p.m., that would also be acceptable:

"The -- so the way that I've described this is the president's not going to sign a CR that will give members of Congress additional time to negotiate. That's essentially sort of where we are."

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