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 Democrats pushed to have aid for Puerto Rico, which is struggling to pay its debts, in the year-end deal, but Republicans refused.
To help secure the needed votes for the spending bill, however, Ryan this week tasked the relevant committee chairmen with producing a plan for helping Puerto Rico by the end of March.
It’s unclear what that will mean, Puerto Rico’s government and Democrats want to give the island territory access to the bankruptcy system, but many Republicans oppose that option.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said ahead of the vote that she expects the House to begin holding hearings when Congress returns on Jan. Ryan “wanted to go through committee on it,” Pelosi said. (Reuters) Pelosi told reporters Friday morning that adding the oil export ban to the spending bill made it very difficult to convince some Democrats to vote for the legislation, but she said that by allowing it to be included Democrats were able to extract concessions of their own, such as an extension of renewable energy tax credits.
“It’s an early Christmas present for Donald Trump,” Huelskamp said. “In order to avoid a government shutdown, a cowardly threat from an incompetent President, the elected Republicans in Congress threw in the towel and showed absolutely no budget discipline.” Budget watchdog groups have been critical of the tax bill, in particular, arguing it’s a deficit buster.
President Obama signed the legislation on Friday afternoon.
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There is little chance Congress will attempt to enact any sweeping policy changes during the 2016 election year and Mc Connell said he would continue to focus on moving legislation that has some bipartisan support, while acknowledging some political points would be made.
“We want to continue to be the kind of Senate we were this year,” he said.
Two contentious issues left out of the omnibus that will come up again early next year are whether to crackdown on Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the country and how to help Puerto Rico with its debt crisis.