Continuing Resolution

Budget Deal Could Bust Caps by $200 Billion
Two-year agreement expected to draw motley crew of supporters

Marc Short, left, White House director of legislative affairs, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse at the Capitol on Dec. 1. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional negotiators have moved well north of $200 billion in their discussions of how much to raise discretionary spending caps in a two-year budget deal.

The higher numbers under consideration follow an initial Republican offer several weeks ago to raise defense by $54 billion and nondefense by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019 — a $182 billion increase in base discretionary spending.

Trump Signs Bill to Keep Government’s Lights on Through Dec. 22
The continuing resolution passed both chambers of Congress Thursday

President Donald Trump speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday signed the stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 22, according to a tweet from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 

The House and Senate passed the measure on Thursday, averting a government shutdown, for now.

Photos of the Week: Three Resignations, a CR Extension and the Holidays Kick Off
The week of Dec. 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler arrives Thursday for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI. Nadler became the top Democrat on the panel following Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 10:08 a.m.The week on the Hill was not short on news. Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct while Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, announced he intended to do the same soon. Late Thursday, Republican Trent Franks from Arizona said he would resign effective Jan. 31 over sexual harassment allegations in his office.

At the same time, the funding deadline to keep the government open loomed. But a government shutdown was averted Thursday — at least for another two weeks — when both chambers passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 22. 

No Deal For Trump With ‘Chuck and Nancy’ This Time
‘We agreed to keep on talking,’ McConnell says

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not reach a deal with President Donald Trump and congressional leaders Thursday.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Chuck and Nancy” finally went to the White House on Thursday. But there was no script-flipping deal to be had with President Donald Trump this time.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., signaled the sides are still too far apart to close a deal, saying at the start of the meeting he was “glad we’re here to resume conversations.”

House Conservatives Mixed Emotions Over White House Confab
Hints but no guarantees from leadership spark split feelings

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the two conservative House caucuses are both hopeful and worried about what’s happening Thursday afternoon at the White House.

They hope Speaker Paul D. Ryan is advocating for a Republican-crafted spending strategy during a meeting with President Donald Trump and other congressional leaders. But they worry that negotiations over topline spending numbers could undermine their position.

House Leaders Show Wide Gap in Year-End Priorities

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, showed the two parties have a wide gap in their priorities for the end-of-year spending debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wide gap between Republicans and Democrats on year-end priorities was on full display Thursday as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held their weekly press conferences.

Pelosi said Democrats will not support the two-week continuing resolution that the House is voting on Thursday afternoon because it doesn’t address “urgent needs,” while Ryan wouldn’t say explicitly that Republicans have enough votes to pass it on their own.

Congress Being Congress: Funding Fight Kicked to Later in December
Shutdown threat this weekend averted, but after Dec. 22, the odds go up

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., a senior appropriator, thinks defense funding could be a vehicle for GOP priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even as President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a government shutdown “could happen,” Congress is on track to pass a two-week continuing resolution to avoid just that.

But after that stopgap, there are no guarantees. Republicans are working on a strategy that appears designed to test Democrats’ resolve to pick a fight over their spending priorities.

Senate Agrees to Tax Bill Conference With House

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, will be a key negotiator as the House and Senate reconcile their versions of a tax overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted Wednesday to officially begin conference negotiations with House members over a tax code overhaul, as Republicans race to send a finished bill to President Donald Trump’s desk before Christmas.

The 51-47 party-line vote was largely a formality. Behind-the-scenes talks have already begun since the Senate passed its version early Saturday morning, following House passage of its own bill before Thanksgiving.

Shutdown Could Happen, Trump Says
President blames Democrats’ immigration demands

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talk to reporters in the Rose Garden on Oct. 16.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A government shutdown “could happen” Saturday, President Donald Trump said Wednesday, blaming Democrats’ immigration demands.

“The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting. “They are looking at shutting down [the federal government]. They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don’t want in our country. They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bring with them crime, tremendous amounts of drugs. We don’t want to have that.”

Freedom Caucus Open to Linking Spending Deal to Health Care
Senate insurance market stabilization measure could be part of calculus now

From left, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leave a meeting in the Speaker’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House Republicans continue to strategize about how to fund a defense spending increase by Christmas, a key conservative said Wednesday he’d be open to a bipartisan Senate proposal to fund the cost sharing reduction subsidies for the health insurance exchanges if that’s what it would take to get Senate Democrats on board.

“If Alexander-Murray would break the defense and non-defense wall, that may be a price that many would be willing to pay,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said, even as he noted that has not been a part of the discussions so far.