December 7, 2016 / 1:28 AM / 3 years ago

House Republican offers bill to keep government funded through April

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican head of a House of Representatives committee said on Tuesday he was offering a bill to keep the U.S. government funded through April, ahead of a Friday deadline to keep agencies running.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said in a statement the short-term Continuing Resolution would fund the federal government until April 28, and included money for emergency disaster relief.

The move would give incoming Republican President-elect Donald Trump more of a say on budget and appropriations issues, allowing him to set funding priorities for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.

The bill also contains a provision that will make it easier for Trump’s choice as defense secretary, General James Mattis, to pass a bureaucratic hurdle to his appointment. Since he retired only in 2013, Mattis will need Congress to waive a requirement that he be a civilian for at least seven years before taking the top job at the Pentagon.

Rogers expressed disappointment at having to offer the bill, which suspends months of work by lawmakers and their staffs on full-scale appropriations bills Congress had intended to enact before the end of the year.

“This type of short-term spending absolutely should not be the final answer to funding the federal government for the year,” he said in the statement.

“This legislation is just a band aid, but a critical one. It will give the next Congress the time to complete the annual Appropriations process, and in the meantime, take care of immediate national funding needs,” Rogers added.

Democrats and some Republicans have said such a decision was a mistake that could lead to a more difficult appropriations task next year.

Reporting by Eric Walsh; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney

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