House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday he was unsure if the House would take up a massive war supplemental spending bill this week as Democratic leaders continue to try and craft a bill that President Bush would sign yet keeps their priorities intact.
"It's not on for this week, but its not off," said Hoyer when asked by reporters to give a definitive answer if the bill would reach the House floor this week.
"We want to pass a supplemental that the president will sign," said Hoyer.
While Bush has repeatedly stated he would veto a bill that exceeds his pre-set spending limit, Democrats have been pushing for months for an extension of veterans' education benefits.
"I think we could pass a supplemental through the House tomorrow and that would be nice, it would give us something to crow about. But what we need to do is get a bill signed."
Hoyer said discussions with the White House are ongoing, while House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) has been consulting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about what the Senate could pass.
Democratic leaders indicated Monday that a package of unemployment benefits will be removed from the war supplemental and taken up separately, as Democrats are willing to trim select parts of the roughly $170 billion bill in order to get it signed into law.
As per usual, Crypt colleague David Rogers has an excellent write-up of the unemployment benefits debate here.