Short-term spending bill plan gains steam ahead of shutdown deadline

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill looking to avert a partial government shutdown starting Saturday are warming to the possibility of passing a short-term, stopgap spending measure.

“I think one’s looming on the horizon right now,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive takeaways from Trump's budget Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump unveils 2020 budget | Calls for cuts to NIH | Proposes user fees on e-cigs | Azar heads to Capitol to defend blueprint | Key drug price bill gets hearing this week Trump's emergency declaration looms over Pentagon funding fight MORE (R-Ala.), referring to a potential short-term continuing resolution that would maintain current spending levels for government agencies funded by the seven spending bills Congress has not passed.

While most initial disagreements over the seven bills have been resolved, the major exception has been President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill. Democrats have offered to pass a continuing resolution for DHS, which would renew some $1.3 billion in funds for fencing, through the end of the 2019 fiscal year, Sept. 30.

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The White House on Tuesday seemed to back down from Trump’s earlier promise that he would “proudly” shut down the government, saying the president would be able to cobble together wall funding from other parts of the government.

Democrats rejected a GOP offer to revive the Senate version of the 2019 DHS bill, which included $1.6 billion for fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, and add an additional $1 billion that Trump could use for his immigration priorities.

With those developments, many in Congress, such as Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic Senate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE (R-Mo.), say a shutdown is off the table, and that a shorter extension is likely in the absence of a comprehensive deal.

“That’s my guess,” he said.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Omar controversies shadow Dems at AIPAC Five things to watch as AIPAC conference kicks off MORE (D-Calif.), who's poised to become Speaker next month, said a short-term continuing resolution (CR) might break the logjam. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) agreed.

“If Leader McConnell puts a short-term CR on the table, it’s something we’d very seriously consider,” Schumer said.

Outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (D-Mo.) said Tuesday that the prospects of a shutdown have faded significantly.

"I’m betting we’re out by Thursday,” she said.

GOP leadership would prefer to pass all seven remaining spending bills and avoid another shutdown fight next year, when Democrats will control the House.

“I think we’re kind of at an impasse, and the question is, then, is the fallback a CR?” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (R-S.D). “It’s a possibility. Last resort, obviously.”

With only a few days until Friday’s midnight deadline and a decreasing appetite for a shutdown, an alternative to a CR is becoming increasingly unlikely.

“Three legislative days," Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Alaska) lamented, counting off the remaining weekdays on her fingers. “If these were dog years we’d have a lot of time to work this through.”