Patrick J Leahy

In bid to avoid shutdown, spending deal drops Violence Against Women Act extension, other contentious provisions
House and Senate conferees were signing the document Wednesday night, votes expected Thursday

Senate Appropriations leaders Richard C. Shelby, right, and Patrick J. Leahy led conference negotiations on senators’ behalf. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As negotiators were finalizing a final fiscal 2019 funding package highlighted by border security spending Wednesday evening, it became clear that an extension of the Violence Against Women Act wouldn’t make the cut.

Several policy riders in the mix earlier Wednesday, including back pay for federal contractors for wages lost during the 35-day partial shutdown and the VAWA extension, didn’t make it in the final bargaining over the fiscal 2019 spending conference report, according to aides in both parties.

Top appropriators reach ‘agreement in principle’ on funding border security, rest of government
Agreement could avoid government shutdown

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chair of the House Appropriations Committee walks across the Capitol from the House side for a meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top four congressional appropriators said Monday they had reached an “agreement in principle” that would fund the Department of Homeland Security and the rest of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year and could avoid a government shutdown if President Donald Trump signs off on it. 

The agreement is now being drafted into legislative text that the House and Senate hope to advance before Friday’s government funding deadline, the appropriators said.

Negotiators unlikely to meet self-imposed Monday shutdown deal deadline
Both sides were discussing a simple stopgap measure as a fallback if appropriations deal isn’t reached

From left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N. Dak., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Jan. 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House and congressional leaders on Monday were buying themselves a little more time for negotiations that appeared to stall out over the weekend, with both sides discussing a simple stopgap measure as a fallback to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Top appropriators met late afternoon at the Capitol in hopes of salvaging a full-year DHS spending bill, as well as completing work on six other fiscal 2019 bills that are largely completed. But it wasn’t clear if the meeting of the so-called “four corners” — Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D- N.Y. and ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas — would yield an immediate breakthrough.

Down to the wire amid setback in government funding talks
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 98

Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., speaks with the panel's chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new snag over immigrant detention policy has thrown a monkey wrench into border security negotiations, as lawmakers look to prevent another government shutdown. CQ appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains what both sides are seeking and how the Trump administration is softening its demand on border wall funding.  

Show Notes:

Appropriators attempt to revive talks Monday as Friday shutdown deadline looms
A meeting between 4 top appropriations leaders from the House and Senate is expected at 3:30 p.m.

From left, Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic appropriators from both chambers plan to meet Monday afternoon in an effort to revive spending talks as the government heads toward its second shutdown in three months.

The so-called “four corners” — Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D- N.Y. and ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, — will attend the meeting, according to a Shelby spokeswoman.

Negotiators closing in on border security conference deal
Shelby talks up chances after meeting with the president

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left and Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., seem optimistic about a deal on border security. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate negotiators are closing in on a final $320 billion-plus omnibus fiscal 2019 package, after what Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby called a “productive” and “positive” meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday.

“[The president] said to me again he would like for us to wrap it up, to get a legislative solution,” the Alabama Republican told reporters at the Capitol after the meeting. “We’re negotiating on the substance, serious stuff now. ...This is the most positive I’ve been or I’ve seen in the talks since, oh gosh, maybe ever.”

Appeals court nominee backpedals from college writings
“I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao tells Senate Judiciary

Neomi Rao, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for an influential appeals court distanced herself Tuesday from prior writings about sexual assault and other topics during a Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing.

“To be honest, looking back at some of those writings and reading them, I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, testified. “In the intervening two decades, I like to think that I have matured as a thinker and writer, and indeed as a person.”

McConnell wants border security conference to produce a bill, even if Trump signature is unclear
Senate majority leader is praying for the conferees to succeed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants a border security conference to reach a result. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the House and Senate negotiators working on a border security spending agreement to reach a deal — even if there aren’t assurances that President Donald Trump will sign it.

The Kentucky Republican made those comments hours ahead of Trump’s State of the Union, which was rescheduled to Tuesday thanks to the most recent partial government shutdown.

Photos of the Week: Powerful women take over powerful committees, Barr interviews and museums reopen
Roll Call’s photographers take from this week in the Capitol

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits for William Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, to arrive in his office for their meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Border security bargainers get to work, still miles apart
First conference committee meeting does little to close the divide

From left, Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk before the start of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats showed few signs of giving in to President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall as a conference committee began talks Wednesday to strike a border security deal that would also fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2019.

But both sides expressed optimism and pledged to work toward an agreement by the Feb. 15 deadline that the president can sign, and thus avoid another partial government shutdown.