Congress to pass stopgap funding bill next week: top Republican

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) addresses a news conference at the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill in Washington October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. Cantor said the "continuing resolution" would keep the government open past a midnight Wednesday (0500 GMT) deadline through Saturday, January 18. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. "We hope that they will finish their business by January 18th," Cantor said on the House floor. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend. "We're getting close, but not quite there yet," a House Republican aide said. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers hopes to complete the spending bill by Sunday night or Monday, the aide said. The spending measure is needed as a follow-on to a two-year budget deal negotiated in December to provide some relief from automatic "sequester" spending cuts after a battle in October over a government shutdown. Among issues that have caused difficulties for negotiators have been increased funding for implementation of "Obamacare" health insurance reforms and funds for heightened financial regulation activities under a reform law passed in 2010. (Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish)