THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN PODESTA AND OMB DIRECTOR JACK LEW Office of the OMB Director Dwight D. Eisenhower Building
2:40 P.M. EST
MR. PODESTA: Let me start very briefly, and then let Jack say a couple things, and then we'll take questions. I've worked here for close to 30 years, and I think the end of this congressional session was somewhat amazing, even given all the experience, having failed to pass the patients' bill of rights, having failed to pass a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, having failed to abide by an agreement on education funding and then blown it up in announcing to have failed to agree on it back out of town. So it's a little unclear to exactly where we are with our friends in the House and the Senate.
But there's obviously, as the President said this morning, important work that remains to be done in this Congress, and we're committed to trying to get that work done. It appears that that will happen after the election now, but there's still a list of issues that remain that we're committed to trying to resolve, and hopefully at some point be able to sit down in a real dialogue and see if we can find bipartisan consensus on those issues.
Jack, do you want to --
MR. LEW: I think if we had gotten together on Monday morning, we would have been very optimistic. We thought we had finally reached a breakthrough to finish up the year's work. And what we've learned over the year, over the many years, that when we sit down and we work together and negotiate, we work out honorable compromises, and go to the floor of the House and the Senate and they pass with bipartisan support and it's good for the country.
We saw that this year on a number of occasions. We saw it on the VA-HUD bill, where there are a lot of accomplishments that we're proud of and I think, if you were to go and ask the Republicans who worked on it, that they're proud of. On the Interior bill, the same is true.
On the Foreign Operations bill, there was bipartisan work within the Congress that we weren't directly involved in, but it produced a very good bill. And I think it's something again that all parties are proud of.
We hit the point on Sunday night, early Monday morning, where we thought we finally were engaged with the seriousness of purpose and had an agreement. And we were quite stunned on Monday, midday, when it turned out not to be acceptable to the Republican leadership.
I think it's important to note that on both the Labor-HHS bill and the Commerce-Justice bill, we reached substantial agreement on the funding issues, and we got stuck on issues that were policy issues where we were struggling for a long time to be in the room with the right parties to negotiate with. What seemed different on Sunday night was that the authority to negotiate had been finally given to people who knew how and were ready to negotiate, and that was why it was particularly troubling on Monday, when it went to leadership, and we believe because of very strong views of special interests, that deal was not allowed to stand.
I think we're now at a point where, with the Senate having gone home, it's only a matter of time until the House figures out its own way of going home to the election, and we'll come back after the election. As John said , when we come back, our purpose is going to remain what it's been since the beginning of the year, which is to get the appropriations bills done in a way that funds the priorities of the American people, and to resolve these policy issues in a way that is fair and we think an acceptable policy.
I think we're still a little bit unclear as to how this week is going to end, but hopefully when everyone comes back we'll be able to get together with the kind of bipartisan effort that has worked in the past.
Q In a lame duck session, do you see the White House pushing a broader agenda than just finishing up the budget and trying to do something on the tax bill?
MR. PODESTA: Well, you raised the key issues that I think are in front of us, which are, in the appropriations context, I think we still would like to see, and will continue to press for as a must item, immigration fairness. We've got the issues that are still being negotiated, for example, on tobacco and other appropriations issues underneath that.
In the tax BBRA Medicare-Medicaid amendment, we obviously want to see the minimum wage raised. We want to try to get some tax fairness. We want to push forward and try to get the new markets legislation passed. On the balanced budget reform side, we've got a list of priorities that we're going to continue to push for.
We're going to continue to try to get hate crimes done in the context of C-J-S, and frankly, I think we'd still like to see if we could get the patients' bill of rights. That seems like a harder proposition in a lame duck session than it would be before.
Q It would have to be --
MR. PODESTA: Well, as you know, it was originally in the -- an unacceptable version, Nickles version was added to the Labor-HHS bill. So I think anything is possible and we want to continue to see if we can get something done on patients' bill of rights. But it's got to be a strong, acceptable bill that provides real rights and has a real enforcement mechanism.
I think that's one issues that I think we're particularly disappointed by -- because it looked to us that there was bipartisan agreement clearly in the House of Representatives on a good strong bill, the Speaker would end the year telling the President he saw the handwriting on the wall, he knew were the votes were in the House and he wanted to get it done, but the special interest grip on the Republican leadership in the Senate was strong enough that we were never able to break that loose and break through.
Q Have you had any contact with congressional Republicans in the last few days? When I say contact, I'm not talking about just at the staff level, but at the principal's level. Or do you expect --
MR. PODESTA: I have not. Jack?
MR. LEW: Since Monday I have not had any overtures from any members on the Republican side, and I placed calls on Monday to both Senator Stevens, Senator -- and Congressman Young, and those are the last conversations I've had.
Q Should we then expect things are suspended between now and election day?
MR. PODESTA: We are -- Steve put a caveat on his question -- I think we have continued to have discussions at a staff level, White House staff, leadership staff -- on the ergonomics question and on the immigration question. But even as late as last night the Republican staff negotiator said -- I'm not sure what the context is, but the Senate stopped -- and it appears that we're going to have to wait and see what happens.
Q Can you explain what specifically was the problem that the leadership found with the ergonomic language that they claim did not fully address what was the understanding between the two parties? Can you explain to us if it was a matter of minor change and tweaking of language why you guys couldn't have figured something out Monday afternoon?
MR. LEW: There were hours of discussion on Sunday about not just the principles but the specific words for resolving the ergonomics, the workplace safety rider. The issues that were presented as the significant hurdles that needed to be overcome were to permit the next President the opportunity to withdraw the rule before it took effect in any way in terms of burdens being placed on businesses, or in terms of enforcement actions being taken.
And we labored over language, specific language, for hours, where I know I was in constant tough with our lawyers, and I assume that they were in touch with theirs, to make sure that we understood the consequence of the language. I think that the issue we discussed at some length on Sunday night-Monday morning was whether or not any individuals could bring actions, or whether an enforcement action could be brought by the Department of Labor. And we I think clearly ruled out any such actions until June 1, 2001, unless the new President makes a judgment to do it earlier, after January 20, 2001.
I think in the morning when they showed that language to the Chamber of Commerce, they said it was unacceptable. And they raised an issue that was quite different -- that is whether or not an action that the next administration takes should be subject to the normal judicial review that rulemakings are subject to. And we discussed that on Sunday night-Monday morning. There were suggestions made that the rule should not be in final form until next year so that the new President wouldn't have to go through a formal process. And we just said, no, we want the next President, if he is going to reverse the decision, to go through the normal process.
And what's the consequence of that? The consequence is that an action, just like a positive action, a negative action, could be challenged in court. Parties can go forward and say there isn't a basis for the rulemaking, it's arbitrary and capricious. And if you look at the critics of the ergonomics rule, they argue that there's no basis for it, that it's an unfounded rule. But they're not willing to take any burden that if there's a challenge to regulatory action that would reverse the rule, that they could prevail.
I think that shows the weakness of the substantive case of the opponents of the rule, as well as a sense of procedural and fairness that is quite profound. We ought not to be in the business of saying that a rulemaking -- that to either put a major rule in effect or to take it out of effect should be shielded from the judicial process.
Q Now that negotiations have broken off, can OSHA be free to promulgate the rule?
MR. LEW: Well, OSHA has always been free to promulgate the rule in the absence of a rider. And we have been crystal clear that it is our plan to finalize the rule. And what this negotiation, what this debate has been about is our insistence that we issue a final rule, and the insistence on the other side that that rule not go into effect until the next President has an opportunity to make a different policy, should he so choose.
MR. PODESTA: I think it's important on this question also to remember -- I don't have it in front of me, Jack could probably provide it -- in 1998, we went through a negotiation in which they wanted to delay the promulgation of this rule. I think they wanted an additional study done before the rule was promulgated -- that in that context, we reluctantly agreed to that in exchange for report language that they put in that said they would not use appropriations riders again to delay the implementation of the rule -- that it was completed and the rulemaking process was put forward. So, again, it's another broken promise in this context, which I think was also at issue in the context of --
Q Although they argue that one Congress can't bind the next Congress.
MR. PODESTA: Well, you know --
MR. LEW: That may be legally true, but --
MR. PODESTA: But the same gang of people are sitting in the room, so they made the agreement.
MR. LEW: It was negotiated in great detail because our plan in 1998, as it is now is to complete a 10-year process of putting the worker safety rules into effect. There were -- in that negotiation, as in this negotiation, things are resolved in a way where there is a meeting of the minds, where there is concessions made from one to the other party. And usually in the process within the legislative branch and between legislative and the executive branch, there's an expectation that these commitments carry over. There's not an expectation that the same people are going to say, oh, that was the last Congress, we don't have to live with that agreement.
Q So the essential dispute at this point is they're saying they don't want -- actually, if the next President comes in and decides to reverse or block this, they don't want that subject to judicial review?
MR. LEW: I think that's what it boils down to.
Q They don't want the administrative procedures --
MR. LEW: We've made it clear that no enforcement action would be taken, no burdens would be placed on business for a long enough period of time for the next administration have time to reverse --
MR. PODESTA: It's important to note that they would have broad discretion to withdraw the rule -- one that is not arbitrary, capricious, or abusive of the broad discretion they would have. So they have some -- again, I go back to what Jack said, which I think that fundamentally is a testament to the weakness of the substantive position that they're --
MS. MATHEWS: And another testament I think to the weakness of the substantive position. There are two ways to undo it -- one is administrative through the executive branch. There is another way and that's the Congressional Review Act. The Congress has the authority and they can undo it during the period after we put it out. The Congress has authority that it can undo the rule.
Q This is a major rule --
MS. MATHEWS: This is a major rule, so it can be reviewed by the Congress. So if they were on strong -- reviewed and rejected by the Congress. If they were on strong footing there, there's a vote that could be taken.
Q If there's no ergonomics agreement and OSHA goes ahead and finalizes the rule, when does it go into effect? Does it go into effect immediately?
MR. LEW: Well, under the terms of the rule, it would be up to the final rule when it would take effect. What we were negotiating over Sunday night was to ensure that there be a long enough window so that before the rule had any practical effect, there would be an opportunity for the next administration to take an administrative action to reverse it. I think that --
Q Can I interrupt you? It would have been a final rule, it just wouldn't have been enforceable?
MR. LEW: Yes, that is the language.
Q But it would have been in effect?
MR. LEW: It would have been in effect as a final rule, which has real meaning in terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, but it would not have had any practical effect in the sense of burdens being placed on business or enforcement actions or any litigation until some future point. And it was negotiated to be June 1.
Q Is there anything to prevent you from just going ahead and putting out the rule now?
MR. PODESTA: No.
Q Will you?
MR. LEW: We're continuing as we have been to get the rule ready for final publication. We've been very straightforward in all of our discussions that that has been and remains our plan.
Q You don't have a particular date as to when --
MR. LEW: As soon as it's finished. As soon as -- the work is on schedule -- and it's been completed.
Q Before November 14?
MR. LEW: I heard speculation yesterday and the day before about November 14. Frankly, it's not at that level of precision that we know the date it's going to be completed.
Q -- before they reconvene and you try and work this out?
MR. LEW: It is certainly our expectation that we'll complete the rule while we have the ability to promulgate a final rule.
Q Is it fair to say that your ability to promulgate this rule and your decision on whether to promulgate it and when is one of your chief forms of leverage in the post-election session? In other words, that it would help you keep a foundation to the negotiations that doesn't stray too far from where you are right now?
MR. LEW: I think our leverage in negotiations always has been and will remain the fact that in order for any legislation to become law, it needs to either be signed by the President or a veto has to be overridden. And that is the ultimate reason that there's an ability to work out differences with some measure of equality between the branches.
I think that our ability under current law to go forward is clear. Our desire and intent to go forward with the rule-making is clear. And I'm not sure that it adds or detracts from the leverage. We're not trying to conceal anything. We're not trying to make any secret of the fact -- in the negotiation that John referred to in 1998, we said the same thing then that we're saying now, that it was one of our objectives in this administration to complete what is now a 10-year long process to have a very important rule put into effect.
Q But on the other hand, it would be seen as probably a fairly provocative act by the administration at this point to promulgate it, wouldn't it?
MS. MATHEWS: I think all of our negotiations -- if you look at the language we negotiated, the assumption was we would promulgate. The negotiations -- it was explicit that we would promulgate the rule. So I don't think there is any surprise that would occur that we're on track to promulgate the rule, and that's what our negotiations were based on.
The point of disagreement came with regard to what we would accept earlier, what judicial actions -- they don't want any action to be able to be taken. So I don't think they --
MR. LEW: Even in a discussion since Monday at a staff level that have gone on, there's a presumption that we would be issuing a final rule. That is not going to be a point of either provocation or surprise. I think that is everyone's understanding of our plan. I think that the bone of contention, the point at which we were struggling and thought we had reached agreement -- had reached agreement, it just was an agreement that didn't last very long -- and that now would have to be resolved in order for us to come to some mutually agreeable position is what to do about this question about the nature of the action required to reverse the rules.
MR. PODESTA: I think that ultimately we get into the machinations of our leverage and their leverage, and we can't lose sight of the fact that there are people who have real injuries or would be hurt by this. This rule has been a long time in the making. It ought to be promulgated, and we intend to move forward and do that.
Q Switching subjects real quick for a second. What's your expectation as to where school construction bonds end up, on Labor-HHS or on the tax bill?
MR. LEW: Let me make a point that I think is really important in terms of how the whole negotiation went on Sunday night-Monday morning. We had insisted up until that point that school construction bonds had to be addressed in the context of the Labor-HHS bill; that it was integrally related to the funding issues, that the Treasury-Postal bill included a tax provision, the Appropriations Committee has already crossed the line of including tax provisions on appropriations matters. And we had just insisted that it be dealt with in that context.
Part of the negotiations Sunday night which cleared the way for an agreement was that we agreed to move that to another bill. We agreed that instead of doing it on Labor-HHS, which was arguably our point of greatest leverage, that it would be acceptable to us to discuss that in the context of a tax bill, which I think we all know has an uncertain -- at best.
One of the issues that I personally have been troubled by is the notion that you just pick one aspect of an agreement, that's a complex agreement where the parts are very much related, and it went up to the leadership office on the House side and the Republican leadership said, we don't like that one part of it. And they ignored all of the concessions that were made to reach an agreement. Frankly, I think the appropriators are more experienced in the give-and-take of negotiations and I think they understood on Sunday night that there was give-and-take on both sides. That was a very substantial compromise for the administration to make, to put in jeopardy a provision that we consider to be very, very important.
There were other concessions made in both ways. And the debate is not just a debate about the ergonomics rule. As John said, the policy behind the worker safety rule is very important. I mean, I'd be happy to discuss in detail the policy. It's not policy that ought to be treated lightly. But it's not the only issue that we were negotiating over. And I think the question of where the school construction bonds ultimately will be resolved is one that in a post-election session is, at best, uncertain.
And that was part of what we were -- a concession that we made in order to try and reach closure, reach a bipartisan agreement on a Labor-HHS bill that could have passed by today.
Q If I could follow up, does that mean that in the post-election negotiations, you're going back to your original position that school construction bonds should be part of Labor-HHS?
MR. PODESTA: I think if we could resurrect the agreement that was reached on Sunday night, which had substantial investments in our key public education priorities -- for after-school, for summer school, for school modernization on the appropriations side, for ensuring the 100,000 teachers, teacher quality and accountability -- that we would look at that, and let the bond issue, school construction issue, be debated in the context of the overall --
MS. MATHEWS: I think you all know that the cats and dogs title was supposed to be a test for Labor-H, and that's one condition we always laid out, that the cats and dogs title couldn't have something that was unacceptable --
Q You would feel happy with the cats and dogs --
MS. MATHEWS: We never saw it. We have some understanding there's an issue -- have trouble with, the Labor-H.
Q In a lame duck session, can you talk a little bit about how you hold it all together? In other words, the post-election scenarios are -- what could happen and how is that all going to affect --
MR. PODESTA: I got out my son's high school physics textbook last night to refresh my recollection on centrifical force. (Laughter.) I think we'll have to really probably get together on the morning of November 8th and try to figure that out. Obviously some of that is going to have to do with the outcome of the elections. But these priorities remain our priorities and we're going to try to fight and see if we can get them resolved. I'm trying to think of an example, but --
Q Well, you just talked about trying to resurrect the Sunday night agreement. How difficult is that going to be if a Republican wins the White House, or if the Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate, and the balances of the majorities change? I mean, I wonder whether resurrecting one particular agreement on Sunday night is possible.
MR. PODESTA: Again, I said that in the context of would we live with the agreement if they came back and wanted to move forward on that basis. And I said that we would. So I think we'd be comfortable with confirming and moving forward with that agreement, with regard to both the issues that we spent a longer time talking about, on the ergonomics as well as on education spending. And we'd leave school construction bonds to a different format.
How different it will be? I think it's difficult to sit here and make any certain predictions about that. I think we do need to await the outcome of the election. But I think that the reason that we fought so hard and with the strong support of Mr. Obey and the Democrats and Tom Harkin and the Democrats in the House and Senate is because these are our key priorities. Especially in the Labor-H bill. And they're going to be our key priorities today, tomorrow, the day before the election, on election day, and the week after the election.
So it may be easier to resolve these issues, post-election; it may be harder to resolve these issues, post-election. But those are real issues we care about and we're going to fight for.
Q Is one of your concerns, no matter who wins the White House or which party takes over control of the House and the Senate, you've got a Republican Party that has moderated its views, especially in the area of education, as it's moved closer to elections. You no longer have the election there as a moderating force. Are you concerned that they may revert to the much more conservative positions with regard to education funding?
MR. PODESTA: Well, right now it appeared to us that the person who ultimately yanked the chain on this represented the most conservative elements, the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and that was Tom DeLay. He came out and talked about, the next day, that they wanted to stand up to the President and fire up their base. I think if you look at what they did, they blocked the patients' bill of rights, they blocked prescription drug benefit for Medicare, they blocked common-sense gun safety legislation. It appears to me that their base are the special interests that are funding their campaigns. And that who was getting fired up in the election posture that they're taking into next Tuesday.
I think in firing up that base they torched the American people. But I think time will tell what the politics look like on the other side of the election.
Let me give you a specific example. There are a lot of seats up in the air in California. We've got immigration issues -- that is an issue we haven't talked about, was in the Commerce-State-Justice context. I think that the congressional Republicans are putting a face of rejecting the claims of fairness that immigrants have in this country that we've been trying to put forward. I think what ends up happening in that five or six races in California, where the Republican Party got in trouble because of Pete Wilson's anti-Hispanic, anti-immigrant stance, over the course of the last decade, may matter in how that issue is ultimately resolved. But again, I think time will tell.
Q The President will sign a 14-day CR if it comes to his desk, or however many days it is now -- 12?
MR. LEW: We're not sure at the moment what's going to be presented to the President --
Q Is the President willing to sign a multiday CR?
MR. LEW: I think as of yesterday when the Senate went home, it became clear that the prospect of real progress being made between now and the election kind of dropped to near zero. Since we're not -- we're not the legislation branch. They're going to have to pass through the House and the Senate some CR that will get beyond the election. They seem to be having some difficulty agreeing between the House and the Senate, and I think we have to wait until they complete their work.
Q That's true enough, although just to press you on it a bit, the President is the one who said, I will not accept a CR that's longer than 24 hours. That's his last --
MR. PODESTA: We saw, starting in September and then certainly in the beginning of October, that we were in this scheme, strategy, if you can call it that, of two days on and five days off, no progress being made, no pressure coming forward. That's why we ultimately concluded that we had to go on a day-to-day CR, to keep them in town, to see if we could resolve these outstanding issues.
In fact, I think it did create pressure. We were able to finally get in the room and work on the Labor-HHS bill. There was some pressure to move other legislation -- foreign ops passed, et cetera. But the pressure to stay here to resolve those differences led to the negotiation on Sunday night, which led to what we believed at the time and still believe was an agreement to do the Labor-HHS bill in a form that was acceptable to us and we understood to be acceptable to the negotiators, who not only themselves claimed to have authority, but the leadership said they had the authority to negotiate the bills. And so we thought that resolution had a really relatively high chance of them rolling into resolving the other remaining issues that were before us in this Congress.
When they blew that agreement up the next day, I think that the net result was it made it very difficult I think to move forward on these other issues. And at this point, I think as Jack said, the Senate has gone home and keeping here on a day-to-day basis would serve no particularly useful purpose. So I think they need to resolve how they want to -- when they want to come back, how they want to leave here now, and then -- we're not into doing this just as a stunt. We were interested in using the pressure to try to get resolution. We thought that was working, but ultimately it didn't work as a result of their blowing that agreement up.
Q Has there been any communication on how quickly you get back together after the election?
MR. LEW: Let me just clarify, I may not have been clear. I actually talked to Chairman Stevens, Chairman Young on Monday afternoon, and in those conversations I don't think anyone knew what the next steps were. And we haven't heard from them directly or the leadership directly since then. So I think that except for the conversations at the staff level, which have been on specific issues, there's going to have to be a new set of conversations that start presumably after the election.
Q That week, or will you wait until they get back in town, or how will it work?
MR. LEW: Well, we're here. So I don't know --
MR. PODESTA: I would hope that we can have conversations in advance of their return at least at the key member level. Because I think if we don't, there will be a tendency to kind of let one week drift into the next, which is then Thanksgiving, and the week past Thanksgiving -- there's no backstop on this.
MR. LEW: No one wants to talk about the next -- the question is who is here right after the election, and how quickly we can get the process like that going.
Q There's also the question of who you are going to be talking to. I mean, Chairman Young has indicated he was washing his hands of these negotiations. Has he indicated that to you, and indicated to you with whom you will be talking?
MR. LEW: Chairman Young has indicated to me the frustration he had with the way the product of our Sunday night negotiation was treated, and I think that they will have to resolve within their own leadership how to bring negotiations back.
The one thing I'll say about both Chairman Stevens and Chairman Young is that they are two honorable men. You can have disagreements with them, but you sit down and when they're given the authority to negotiate always can make the process work. And it doesn't seem to be true with all the leaders on the Republican side. And I certainly hope that they have the ability to do the jobs that I think they do quite well.
Q Can I get you to clarify on the ergonomics rule, do you have a specifically timeline for issuing it?
MR. LEW: Obviously the timeline is a short one because we're talking about having a final rule during our term. The specific date is one that I cannot give you. I know people were speculating about a specific date prematurely. But it's shortly.
Q Does the lame duck make the transition more difficult as far as getting numbers together for the next administration, things like that?
MR. LEW: There's a problem putting even projections together when you don't know what your starting point is. (Laughter.)
Q How late can you go with this?
MR. LEW: We have I think proven our flexibility to with very little time produce materials for decision-making. And I'm confident this organization will do it again. But if your question is does it complicate things, the answer is yes. (Laughter.)
Q How many bills have you received?
MS. MATHEWS: I think that's a complicated question because there are some that have come and gone, and some that have been passed but not -- it's probably easier to kind of go through them. Defense -- done; -- water is done in whatever formula it came back. Transportation is done. VA-HUD are done. Interior, done. Foreign ops is here --
Q When will you sign it?
MR. LEW: Next week.
MS. MATHEWS: And then, of course, there's Treasury and Leg which were teamed together, which have been vetoed. C-J-S, Labor-H --
Q C-J-S never arrived?
MS. MATHEWS: Never sent. And then there's D.C., which became the vehicle for the bad C-J bill.
MR. LEW: Just to answer the question on D.C., I would hope that there is a way to not tie the District up in the ongoing congressional consideration of the budget. And if there were a way to do it, even before Congress goes home, it's hard to see how that wouldn't be the right thing in terms of the District.
Q One last question, John. Is it safe to characterize the differences between the two sides substantively on all these issues as relatively small, but the will to close them isn't there yet? Or do you feel like you have huge gulfs between you substantively?
MR. PODESTA: I think it's hard to do that kind of generically. I think that we have -- because I think if you think about this, we have bipartisan agreement on things like hate crimes, clearly the minimum wage, on even the immigration proposals that we're putting forward there's bipartisan support for. So I think we have the will to get in a room to try to negotiate fairly -- we're going to lose some things, we're going to win some things. But I think that there's -- so I think that -- you put that in terms of will -- I think on certain issues, the gap is fairly narrow and can be closed with one good bargaining session. And then there are other issues where the gap between where the President is and where the Republican leadership is is pretty wide, where we view them as representing a very narrow special interest and we're trying to represent the public interest.
I think, again, in those cases and some the President spoke to this morning, these are not issues where there's kind of a Democratic position and a Republican position, because in many of these cases there's a bipartisan position, and we're on the bipartisan side of it. But we're being blocked from implementing that by the Republican leadership.
We were suggesting earlier that when the Republican leadership said at the beginning of this year that they intended to do 13 appropriations bills before they finished up their work during this time we didn't really fully have in mind that what they were thinking about was 12 CRs and an appropriations bill. But it's been a funny session, and we'll just have to figure out where we are post-election.
Thank you for coming.
END 3:22 P.M. EST