What’s Holding Up the Spending Deal — and Threatening Another Shutdown

What’s Holding Up the Spending Deal — and Threatening Another Shutdown

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

Tick, tick, tick. Congressional leaders are still working to come up with a final version of the $1.3 trillion spending bill they must pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers are wrestling over controversial proposals, including provisions related to immigration, President Trump’s desired border wall with Mexico and funding he opposes for a key New York infrastructure project — along with more than a dozen other contentious issues.

An effort to stabilize Obamacare insurance markets is among the provisions that are not likely to make it into the final package.

As negotiations continued, Republican leaders reportedly told their conference that they’ll post the bill by midnight tonight and plan to pass it on Thursday. "There are some unresolved issues,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters Tuesday morning. “We're working through them as we speak."

The delay will leave little time for the Senate to follow suit before government funding runs out Friday night — though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would keep the chamber in session in until the bill is passed, according to Politico. The timing could once again allow a single senator to hold up consideration of the bill and briefly shut down the government, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) did last month in protest over a bipartisan budget deal that raised federal spending levels.

Lawmakers might still fall back on another short-term funding bill to avoid any significant disruption. "We're going to be here into the weekend, perhaps. But I think there could be some measures taken to keep the lights on. But we'll get it done," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said, according to Politico. "Anything can happen around here."

It just usually happens at the last minute, or sometimes, after the deadline has passed.