This week: Washington barrels toward partial shutdown deadline
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Lawmakers are returning to Washington with days to prevent a partial shutdown and no plan in sight that unites both parties and President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Freedom Caucus calls for Congress to work on shutdown through break Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee Trump inaugural committee spent ,000 on makeup for aides: report MORE.

Congress has until the end of Friday to pass a funding bill for roughly 25 percent of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security.

But both sides have ratcheted up the shutdown rhetoric as they remain deeply divided over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump and House Republicans are demanding $5 billion for the border, while Democrats have pointed to $1.3 billion as their cap in any negotiations.

“President Trump should understand, there are not the votes for the wall in the House or the Senate. He is not going to get the wall in any form,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats are facing political consequences over shutdown The Supreme Court shouldn’t do the president’s dirty work to end DACA Scalise: Trump wants Congress to solve shutdown problem MORE (D-N.Y.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Schumer added that Democrats have offered two options and lawmakers should “not let a temper tantrum, threats” push Congress toward a partial shutdown.

Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSenators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks On The Money: Shutdown hits Day 24 | Trump touts need for wall in speech to farmers | Poll numbers sag | House Dems push stopgap bills | How the shutdown could harm the economy | TSA absences raise stakes for deal Feehery: Current shutdown impasse is a fight over peanuts MORE (D-Calif.) have lined up behind requesting a one-year continuing resolution (CR) for DHS, while rolling the other six appropriations bills that still need to be passed into one massive omnibus bill.

Democrats, as a fall back plan, have noted that if a partial government shutdown does begin on Saturday, they’ll take back over the House on Jan. 3 and will pass their preferred plan, a stopgap gap for DHS, then.  

“If he went on that path, as soon we took of over the Congress, we would pass legislation to open up government and send it to the Senate and we think it would then go to his desk. But we don't want to have to go to that place,” Pelosi said at a press conference last week.

Republicans, meanwhile, say they are waiting for clarity about what Trump would be willing to sign before Friday night’s deadline.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks Former GOP rep: We would be 'storming the White House' if Obama mulled national emergency The Hill's Morning Report — Groundhog Day: Negotiations implode as shutdown reaches 20 days MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, asked what the plan was to prevent a partial shutdown threw his hands up in the air, indicating that he didn't know what, or if, there is one.

“There is no discernable plan. None that’s been disclosed,” Cornyn said. “Everybody is looking to him for a signal about what he wants to do. And so far it’s not clear.”

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTrump, Congress break record for longest shutdown Senate immigration talks fall apart Kushner meets with moderate Republicans in search of shutdown solution MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, asked late last week if there was a plan, said, “I’m hoping there will be.”

Shelby outlined several potential options for avoiding a partial shutdown, characterizing them as being “floated around” but noting that he had not taken any of them to the White House to find out if Trump would support any of them.

Potential options, according to Shelby, include a continuing resolution until Dec. 26 or until Jan. 3 or a longer stopgap bill that would kick the funding fight deeper into January or February.

“We’re at an impasse. Something's going to have to happen or we’re going to have to have a CR or a shutdown. ... I’d rather work it all out and let you go home,” Shelby told reporters, asked if he thought a continuing resolution (CR) or a partial shutdown was more likely.

Trump and top White House officials have refused to take a potential shutdown off the table as they’ve doubled down on their demand for border wall funding.

White House adviser Stephen Miller pledged on Sunday that the administration would “do whatever is necessary” to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, including forcing a partial funding lapse.

"If it comes to it, absolutely,” Miller told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

House GOP leaders have largely left the shutdown brawl in the hands of Senate Democrats and the White House. And it remains unclear whether they will bring up a bill containing the president’s requested $5 billion for the border wall this week, or if they have the votes.

The lower chamber isn’t scheduled to be back in session until Wednesday evening despite the looming shutdown.

“Our schedule for next week remains fluid and subject to change. Conversations are currently ongoing between the House, Senate and White House. In the meantime, members should be on standby and prepared to return to Washington for votes next Heek,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyAnother GOP lawmaker calls on Steve King to resign over white supremacy comments Steve King primary challenger says lawmaker's removal from House committees supports his cause Steve King slams GOP leaders for 'political decision' over comments on white supremacy MORE (R-Calif.) said on the floor. “We'll provide advance notice ahead of expected votes. As of today, I would estimate first votes for the week occur at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday.”

Criminal justice reform

The Senate is taking up a White House-backed criminal justice bill after years of the legislation being stalled by Republican infighting and an indifferent reception from GOP leadership.

The Senate will take a procedural vote on the bill on Monday at 5:30 p.m., where supporters will need to put up 60 votes to get the legislation around the hurdle.

The legislation combines a House-backed prison reform with a handful of changes to sentencing and mandatory minimum laws. Senators rolled out a modified, final version of the legislation last week with changes aimed at winning over more GOP support, including increasing the list of offenses that make an individual ineligible from the “earned time” credits that cut down on a sentence.

Though McConnell previously warned that the bill could eat up to 10 days of floor time, under the process he set up late last week the Senate is poised to finish work on the bill by Wednesday.

“My impression is that people are not going to string this out unnecessarily for procedural reasons as long as they get an opportunity to make their arguments and have a vote on their amendment,” Cornyn said

Though quick, the debate is likely to put a spotlight on Republican divisions, with conservatives clamoring to change — which advocates would argue sink — the legislation.

Supporters believe they have at least 70 backers for the criminal justice bill. Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate immigration talks fall apart Emergency declaration option for wall tests GOP Senators warm to immigration deal as shutdown solution MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, predicted between 25 and as many as 30 Republicans could end up backing the bill.

GOP Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonHow not to withdraw from Syria Romney sworn in as senator Trump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces MORE (Ark.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) are expected to get votes on three amendments to change the bill, including requiring that the victims or families of victims are notified when an individual is released. Another change would be to make rearrest data for those released publicly available, as well as information on prior offenses by those released and the crimes for which they were imprisoned.

The Kennedy-Cotton amendments would also add to the list of approximately 10 offenses that would exclude someone from being eligible for the bill’s earned time credits, which could be used to shorten sentences.

“This is not a criminal justice bill. It is a prisoner release bill. We should be protecting victims of crimes and not the offenders who committed the crimes,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I don’t think the bill represents justice, but I think our amendment will fix some of the issues with the legislation.”