Congress has days to prevent the second government shutdown of the year before leaving for a two-week break.
Lawmakers need to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Nov. 21 before getting out of town.
The House already passed the short-term bill in a 301-123 vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill A politicized Supreme Court? That was the point The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings MORE (R-Ky.) has started the process of bringing it to the Senate floor, but it hasn’t been scheduled yet for a vote.
McConnell has acknowledged that a short-term bill would be needed to avoid an end-of-September shutdown, saying earlier this month they would need a "temporary continuing resolution for the outstanding parts of the government before the end of September."
But he hasn’t yet weighed in on the House-passed CR, which was unveiled last Wednesday.
In addition to funding the government, the House bill includes a provision requiring the Department of Agriculture to provide state-by-state data on the effects of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE’s trade war.
It also extends a slew of health programs, the National Flood Insurance Program and authorizations for the Export-Import Bank.
The decision to punt the government funding fight to later in the year comes as significant fights are already looming over the fiscal 2020 bills.
While the House passed 10 out of its 12 funding bills, many of them are loaded up with Democratic priorities meaning they won’t get taken up as is by the GOP-controlled Senate.
The Senate, meanwhile, hasn’t passed any of its fiscal 2020 bills. Senate Democrats blocked an attempt by McConnell last week to bring the first funding package to the floor, which was expected to include funding for the Pentagon; the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education; the Energy Department and water development; and the State Department and foreign operations.
Democrats opposed bringing up the bill because of frustration about the top-line spending numbers for all 12 bills. The figures, known as 302(b)s, passed out of the Appropriations Committee in a party-line vote, with Democrats voting against them because they believe Republicans are padding extra border money into the Department of Homeland Security bill.
They also opposed the Senate’s defense funding bill after Republicans objected to language that would prevent Trump from shifting military spending toward the wall without congressional sign off.
“The appropriations process demands that Republicans and Democrats work together. If one party decides to go it alone, it can wreck the spirit of bipartisanship necessary to responsibly fund the government. Unfortunately, Republicans elected to depart from a bipartisan path early in the appropriations process this year,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.).
The Senate Appropriations Committee cleared three noncontroversial bills out of its committee last week: agriculture, financial services, and transportation–housing and urban development.
They’ve scheduled a committee vote on four bills this week: interior and environment; commerce, justice and science; the legislative branch; and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The DHS bill is expected to spark a brawl in the committee because Republicans included money for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and because it covers lightning rod issues like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and detention beds.
Senate Democrats could force a vote as soon as this week on a resolution to nix Trump’s emergency declaration on the wall.
Congress previously voted to end the emergency declaration in February, but the House was unable to override Trump’s veto.
Under the National Emergencies Act, Democrats can force a vote on the resolution every six months. A bipartisan group of senators reintroduced the resolution to the declaration on Sept. 11.
Democrats are fuming after the Pentagon announced earlier this month it would be moving forward with its plan to redirect $3.6 billion in military funding toward the wall under the emergency declaration.
Schumer said that Democrats would force a vote within the month, which would have to be this week before Congress leaves town.
“The president’s national emergency declaration was, and is, an outrageous power grab by a president who refuses to respect the constitutional separation of powers,” Schumer said from the Senate floor at the time.
“Democrats and Republicans alike should vote to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration. ... If we don’t do it, how many more emergencies will the president declare? Who else will he take money from and use it for purposes that he wants but that Congress doesn’t and the American people are largely opposed to?” he added.
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPowerful Democrats push back on one-year extension of child tax credit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt MORE (D-Md.) announced Friday that the House will take up two Democrat-led bills aimed at improving "how the Department of Homeland Security oversees border issues in a humane and responsible manner, including the care of children."
The Homeland Security Improvement Act, spearheaded by Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block Progressives say go big and make life hard for GOP Three Democrats call for investigation into Sidney Powell to move 'swiftly' MORE (D-Texas), aims to increase oversight and transparency at the Department of Homeland Security. The legislation includes a provision calling for Border Patrol and Customs agents to use body cameras.
“In safe communities like El Paso, the most successful law enforcement leaders are those who participate in transparency and community engagement,” Escobar said in a statement following its introduction.
“At a time when many leaders in the Department have ‘acting’ in their titles, this bill will ensure the Department of Homeland Security begins to engage with border communities across the country to create effective and conscientious policy,” she added.
The U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening and Standards Act, introduced by freshman Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodBiden meets with vulnerable House Democrats with agenda in limbo Clyburn receives award named for John Lewis at March on Washington Film Festival's kickoff Clyburn: 'UnAmerican' not to prioritize Medicaid expansion in spending package MORE (D-Ill.), is also expected to see a floor vote.
The bill includes language that would put standards and timelines in place for medical screenings for those in CBP custody. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress on recommendations for improving screenings and establish an electronic health record system for those apprehended at the border.
“When any human being enters into U.S. custody, both U.S. policy and our moral duty require that we provide safe and sanitary conditions, especially to children and the most vulnerable among them. The Department of Homeland Security asked Congress for resources and I voted for the bipartisan emergency funding bill to give DHS the resources they need to address the influx of migrants at our southern border,” Underwood said in a statement after introducing the bill.
“I will uphold my responsibility to conduct thorough oversight and hold the Administration accountable for spending these resources to address the humanitarian crisis in a manner that keeps our country safe and reflects American values.”
Both bills are expected to face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled upper chamber.
In addition to funding the government, McConnell has teed up another slate of Trump nominees.
The Senate will take a procedural vote on Monday evening on Brian McGuire’s nomination to be deputy under secretary at the Treasury Department. The vote had initially been expected to take place last week but hit a snag from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (R-Ky.), who is trying to get the department to support adding privacy protections to trade treaties.
In addition to McGuire, McConnell has teed up Joseph Cella to be the ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuval; Daniel Habib Jorjani’s nomination to be the solicitor for the Interior Department; and David Fabian Black to be deputy commissioner of Social Security.
The Senate could also take up Eugene Scalia's nomination to be Labor secretary and U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten’s nomination to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, though votes haven’t yet been scheduled.