As Fox News and Bloomberg pointed out today, since returning from their holiday break last week, Congress has been bracing for a “political bomb cyclone” as a series of high-profile confrontations loom regarding the future of DACA protections and Republicans’ ability to keep the federal government operational.
According to Bloomberg, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are once again far apart on a government spending bill with less than two weeks to go before a partial shutdown. They also need to come to an agreement on an immigration package that will preserve protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children while also probably allocating some money to Trump’s border wall. The continuing resolution passed shortly before holiday break expires on Jan. 19. And what’s worse for Republicans, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones has taken his seat, paring the GOP’s Senate majority to just one vote. Realistically, Republican and Democratic leaders need to hash out a solution this week, so they can bring the bills to the floor next week.
But these aren’t the only issues. Increasing spending for the Pentagon, reauthorizing (or killing) a controversial surveillance program, providing permanent provisions for a popular children’s health-insurance program, putting in place some stopgap to keep Obamacare from collapsing, disaster-relief funding and a two-year agreement to raise budget caps.
As always, the threat of a shutdown is ever-present, as Republicans defy Democrats to take a stand on DACA. Meanwhile, the question of whether Democrats will allow another continuing resolution to pass without first securing DACA protections remains an open one.
“If the Democrats want to shut down the government because they can’t get amnesty for illegal immigrants, then they’re going to have to defend those actions to the American people,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program.
If both parties can agree this week on raising budget limits, Congress may be able to pass a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, said Muftiah McCartin, a former spending panel staff member for House Democrats and now at Covington & Burling LLP.
“If they don’t get a deal, will the Democrats allow another CR to go forward? I’d kind of be surprised,” McCartin said.
Trump has insisted that money to begin construction on his signature border wall be included in any bill authorizing DACA.
“We want the wall,” Trump said Saturday at Camp David. “The wall is going …read more