Politico

By DAVID ROGERS | 9/9/14 8:38 PM EDT Updated: 9/9/14 9:12 PM EDT

House Republicans rolled out a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 but also reshaping the budget landscape in a manner that tilts toward the GOP if it should win control of the Senate in November.

Included are extensions of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, as well as authority for the Export-Import Bank to continue its operations past Oct. 1. And the White House would get all of its $88 million request for new funding to cope with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

But as filed late Tuesday, the bill provides only a temporary solution to the threat of new domestic spending cuts that could be triggered in January. At the same time the GOP allows for up to $85.1 billion in overseas contingency funds for the military— $26.5 billion more than President Barack Obama has requested for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Given the increased U.S. military role already in the Middle East and Obama’s speech to the nation Wednesday evening, Republicans believe the greater reserve is prudent. But it also sets up a political situation — depending on November’s elections — where it will be that much easier for the GOP to simply extend the continuing resolution (CR) past Dec. 11.

In introducing the 21-page bill, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) made clear that he still wants to complete a more detailed appropriations agreement—not a full-year CR.

“This is a temporary, imperfect measure that does not reflect the changing needs of the nation or new budget priorities,” Rogers said. “In order to adequately address the country’s real and urgent budgetary requirements, it is imperative that Congress fulfill its Constitutional duty and enact actual, line-by-line Appropriations legislation for the next fiscal year.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is hoping that Rogers’ logic prevails, whatever the election outcome. But with the high defense numbers and no fix on the domestic side, the draft CR is so favorable to GOP priorities that it will be tempting for conservatives favoring the simpler route of a full-year CR.

House floor debate is expected Thursday morning, and by including an extension for the Export-Import Bank, Republicans are hoping to win business support as well as important Democratic votes.

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