The House and Senate on Thursday passed a two-week extension of government funding via voice votes, pushing the deadline in the ongoing fight over money for President Trump’s border wall until December 21. Trump has indicated that he’ll sign the legislation before midnight Friday to avert a partial government shutdown. Once that happens, the immediate result, will be “a strange, two-week lull, during which very little is expected to happen,” Politico’s Playbook crew says.
Yes, Trump is scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer next Tuesday to discuss the wall funding and try to make progress on the spending standstill. “But even then, the Capitol Hill action won’t get real until the week of Dec. 17,” Politico says. And reaching a deal on the border security funding won’t be easy, given that Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on the definition of a wall, as Politico’s Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine report. That fight is about where any border security funding goes — and what each side can spin as a win.
Trump has pushed for $5 billion to build a concrete wall on the border. Democrats are reportedly sticking firm to their position, saying that Trump must accept $1.6 billion provided for “border security” in the Senate’s Homeland Security spending bill — which allows for fencing, but includes restrictions on building a wall — or agree to a one-year continuing resolution that would extend funding for DHS at last year’s $1.3 billion level.
“If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that’s his decision. But there are two sensible options on the table to avoid one,” Schumer said, according to The Hill. While some Democrats have been open to trading wall funding for protections for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as minors, Pelosi on Thursday ruled out such a deal and said she’d like to see Congress pass the six remaining appropriations bills that lawmakers have agreed on, with DHS funded via a continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year in September.
The funding fight isn’t the only issue that lawmakers must address before the end of the year. It also needs to pass a newly negotiated farm bill and tackle disaster relief funding and the National Flood Insurance Program, among other things.