Chad Pergram

From FNC Chad Pergram:

User’s Manual to the emergency supplemental spending bill navigating Capitol Hill

Per Pergram-Capitol Hill


Here is some guidance on the supplemental spending request President Obama formally asked Congress for today and some perspectives on what its fate may be.


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has generally stayed above the fray on this question of what he thought of the bill and whether it would it pass. Many rank-and-file Republicans are very skeptical of the package because it is not offset and is $4.3 billion on top of everything else the government is spending.


This means the plan is going to be a real bear to muscle through. In fact, a couple of sources speculated that the administration waited until the wildfires got worse so they could tack that onto the bill…even though we had heard about wildfire aid being included in the bill for weeks.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) have both been emphatic about the need to pass the spending request. But such measures must originate in the House. So Senate Democrats may be forced the wait. And this could be a problem if Boehner doesn’t seem to have the votes.


One senior Democratic member in the leadership team tells Fox that Boehner could eventually resort to “algebra.” In other words, if XRepublicans + YDemocrats = 218. One option is to have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tell Boehner how many Democrats she can get to support the supplemental spending bill…and then get Boehner to provide the rest to get to the magical number of 218 to pass a bill in the House.


Keep in mind that House Republicans provided only 49 yeas on the last emergency supplemental bill to help victims of Superstorm Sandy. In February, only 28 Republicans (joined by 193 Democrats) voted to avoid yet another government shutdown. So Democrats may have to bear most of the weight on this. And there is little room for error for Boehner…and more-significantly, Majority Leader-in-waiting Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority-Whip-in-waiting Steve Scalise (R-LA). Some conservatives and tea party-affiliated loyalists could outright revolt by bringing this legislation to the floor. And that could have an impact on the new leadership team…which is barely in place yet…when the next set of leadership elections rolls around in November. In fact, how the team handles this bill could be the most-important decision they have to make between now and the end of the year. And all be watching if the team is fully on board or if there is dissension.


Still, it’s possible the only way to move this bill through the House is to attach it to something.


There are a three, major moving pieces coming down the tracks. Two seem pretty unsolvable right now. The first is the Veterans’ Affairs reform bill. That measure is jammed up because of the cost and the sides can’t come together in a conference committee to blend the House and Senate measures into one because of the monstrous price tag. Still, lawmakers will tell you that is a “must-do” bill. The same is true with the Highway Trust Fund. That pot of money is nearly broke and could really hit the economy and halt major infrastructure projects nationwide if they don’t figure out a way to infuse the fund with cash in a few weeks. That’s also a “must –do” bill. The third is figuring out a way to keep the government open in September. Again, a must-do item.


A senior House aide tells Fox that perhaps the only way to move the supplemental is to Velcro it to one of the other “must-pass” bills. And that scenario is at least a couple of months away.



Chad Pergram

Senior Producer for Capitol Hill

FOX News