Omnibus spending bill to be finalized this weekend, top appropriator says


House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) in September 2013. (Melina Mara/Post)

An agreement on an omnibus spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year will be finalized this weekend, according to a top appropriator.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said that negotiators should finalize their work on the $1.012 trillion agreement over the weekend, allowing the House and Senate to begin holding votes next week. The agreement is not expected to be publicly announced until Monday at the earliest.

"This is a trillion-dollar bill. Using Reagan's definition of a trillion — it's a 67-and-a-half-mile-high stack of $1,000 bills — a lot of money. A year's work in 30 days time with Christmas and New Year's in it. So our staff is running on fumes. But we're nearing the end," Rogers told reporters.

An agreement on the spending plan is due to be approved by Wednesday, but Rogers said he and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) would introduce a three-day extension to give the massive spending bill more time to work its way through the legislative process in both chambers.

Mikulski said in a statement Friday that "I'm confident that next week we'll have a bipartisan agreement that finds common ground." She said a short extension is needed "to prevent any funding gaps" as Congress works on approving the bill.

The spending plan is the outgrowth of the bipartisan budget agreement approved last month. Under the terms of the deal, spending for the Pentagon and other federal agencies will be set at $1.012 trillion for fiscal 2014, midway between the $1.058 trillion sought by Democrats and the $967 billion sought by Republicans. The Pentagon is expected to get a $2 billion increase over fiscal 2013, while other agencies will see a $22 billion increase.

"The two sides have worked together very, very well, but the details haven't entirely been finalized," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior appropriator, told reporters Friday.

Updated 1:21 p.m.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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