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NNSA Funding Bill Floated in House

The House on Friday could debate legislation to temporarily restore funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration as the federal government remains partially shut down amid partisan gridlock over a U.S. budget.

House Republicans have prepared multiple bills to fund until Dec. 15 politically popular portions of the federal budget, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, national intelligence activities and border security.

It was not clear on Thursday precisely if and when the GOP-controlled House could vote on these measures. However, the office of Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the vote on the NNSA measure could hit the House floor on Friday.

Much of the federal government ceased operations on Oct. 1, when fiscal 2014 started, as Democrats and Republicans clashed over a temporary budget to keep the government running. Democrats including President Obama are refusing to heed the House GOP's attempts to end or limit the health-care reform law.

Talks between the White House and Republicans appeared to be productive on Thursday, when GOP House leaders said they will support a short-term boost to the U.S. borrowing limit. This could be an initial step on the path to a potential compromise to end the partisan fight that has kept much of the government shut down, according to CNN.

Thornberry's Texas district includes the Pantex nuclear weapons plant, which receives NNSA funding. Pantex has been instructed by the Energy Department's nuclear-weapons branch to begin preparing for a temporary shutdown of plant operations, while maintaining security, the congressman said Thursday in a statement.

"There is no reason whatsoever to instruct people who are essential to the security of our country, like workers at Pantex, not to show up to work," Thornberry said.

In addition to the Pantex facility, the NNSA-funded Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Y-12 National Security Complex are facing partial shutdowns.

House Republicans have tried to advance multiple additional budget measures that call for continue funding at fiscal 2013 levels through Dec. 15 for politically sensitive and popular federal programs, including the National Institutes of Health. The Democrat-led Senate has not approved them, and the White has threatened to veto such piecemeal spending proposals.

Obama, though, did on Sept. 30 sign in to law the Pay Our Military Act, which keeps uniformed military on the job.

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