U.S. Oil Exports Are Key to Spending Bill Debate
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans would unveil a deal for a $1.15 trillion spending bill on Tuesday but would need to pass another short-term funding extension to allow for a vote on the measure on Thursday.
Ryan, speaking to a breakfast sponsored by Politico, said lawmakers were putting finishing touches on the massive spending bill and affirmed his view that there would be no government shutdown at the current midnight Wednesday deadline.
Key provisions sought by Republicans included a lifting of 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports and tighter screening of Syrians seeking refuge in the United States. Democrats sought extensions of tax breaks for renewable energy and an end to a nearly 20-year ban on federal medical research into gun violence.
Ryan said he would not waive a House of Representatives rule that requires a three-day review period of legislation to give members of his party ample time to digest the complex spending measure. This would push passage past the Wednesday deadline and require a "short-term" spending extension.
Congress aims to pass the spending deal this week before starting on its holiday break.
McConnell said Republicans were also aiming for a companion bill to extend a number of expired tax breaks permanently rather than every year, as Congress has been doing.
Several business tax breaks, including research and development credits and expensing of small business capital investments, were important for growth, he said.
"Making those permanent, I think, is an important shot in the arm to the economy," McConnell added.
Ryan and McConnell differed slightly on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. While both said they had not decided on the merits, McConnell said President Barack Obama should be cautious about putting the deal to a vote in Congress, given widespread opposition.
Ryan said that he would not rule out moving quickly on putting TPP to a vote if Republicans decide it meets their trade goals.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)