Another Shutdown Threat? Why Congress Could Hit a Wall in December

Another Shutdown Threat? Why Congress Could Hit a Wall in December

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It looks increasingly likely that Republican and Democratic leaders will be playing more than one hand of high-stakes poker on a spending bill needed to avoid a government shutdown.

While Republicans race to solidify details of their tax bill, time is running out for Congress and the Trump administration to agree on a spending plan for 2018 and prevent a shutdown. “Current funding expires Dec. 8, and as hard as it is for Republicans and Democrats to agree on spending, they’ve made the situation worse by punting other difficult issues to December,” Bloomberg’s Anna Edgerton writes.

Those thorny issues include funding for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico, money for Obamacare subsidies and protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, all of which may get rolled into a giant spending bill that would require Democratic votes to pass.

Republican and Democratic leaders are reportedly negotiating that omnibus spending bill, but Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday that a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government will likely be needed as a stopgap measure, according to The Hill. Christmas is probably the real deadline for a larger spending package, Cole said. That goal won’t be easy to achieve either.

Democratic votes would be needed for a short-term spending bill, too, giving Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leverage to demand concessions in order to keep the government open.