D.C. Abortion Ban Among Unresolved Issues in Omnibus Debate

December 14, 2011 — Congressional negotiators are yet to resolve a handful of policy issues in a 2012 omnibus spending bill, including whether to include a ban on the District of Columbia's use of local funds to pay for abortion care for low-income women, National Journal reports. A Senate Democratic leadership aide said the D.C. abortion issue "remains one of the outstanding issues and one of the reasons the omnibus is not done" (McCarthy, National Journal, 12/13).

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said both parties agree on 98% of the omnibus. However, Democratic negotiators have not signed off on the measure, and Republicans have accused them of using the bill for leverage in a separate fight over a tax package.

Lawmakers must approve a spending measure by midnight on Friday -- when the current stopgap continuing resolution expires -- to avoid a government shutdown. A short-term spending measure to keep the government operating through next week is becoming more likely as the deadline approaches, according to The Hill (Wasson, The Hill, 12/13).