House won't address omnibus this week


The House of Representatives won’t take up a fiscal year 2009 spending omnibus this week, due to the pending stimulus bills and a House Democratic retreat.

All but three appropriations bills have been on hold since last fall, when Congress passed full FY09 appropriations bills for the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security. The rest of the government has been operating under a continuing resolution, which expires March 6.

A House Democratic leadership aide said no timeline has been set yet for the omnibus but added that it will be passed soon.

House Democratic leadership planned to take up the omnibus as soon as the stimulus bill, HR 1, passed the House, which it did last week. But the Senate version of the bill, S 336, is facing strong criticism in the Senate this week. If the Senate does pass the stimulus, both bills will have to go to a conference committee to iron out differences. Then both the House and Senate will have to vote on the new version of the bill, a process that could take more than a week.

Meanwhile, the House is in session just Tuesday and Wednesday, with no votes scheduled Tuesday. The House will vote on delaying the digital television transition and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization Wednesday. The House is out Thursday and Friday for the Democratic retreat; the Republicans took theirs last Thursday and Friday.


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