Senator: Congress may fund government until February

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyBlack Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy MORE (R-Ala.) told reporters Tuesday evening that Congress may pass a short-term government funding measure lasting until February.

It’s one of several ideas floating around the Senate as Congress approaches a Friday night deadline to fund 25 percent of government amid wrangling over President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE's demand for border wall funding.

Shelby told reporters earlier in the day that his preference would be to pass a package of the regular spending bills, which have been crafted by the Appropriations Committee for fiscal 2019.


But a short-term funding measure may be necessary to avoid a partial government shutdown starting Saturday if Trump and Senate Democrats fail to reach a deal on federal spending and border security.

Short-term spending measures usually originate in the House, though lawmakers are preparing for a shift in control of the chamber starting in January after Democrats captured the majority in last month's midterm election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe bizarre back story of the filibuster The Bible's wisdom about addressing our political tribalism Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that his preference is to fund federal departments and agencies for the full year.

“If we end up going with a relatively short-term [continuing resolution], we will end up, in effect, punting this year’s business into next year. I think it’s not a very desirable outcome,” McConnell said at a Tuesday press conference.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe bizarre back story of the filibuster Hillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill MORE (N.Y.) told reporters that if Republican leaders advance a short-term funding bill, “it’s something we’d very seriously consider.”

McConnell on Tuesday offered Democrats a potential deal to wrap up the spending bills by week’s end. He proposed giving the president $1.6 billion for border fencing and an additional $1 billion for immigration-related matters. 

Schumer later panned the $1 billion immigration account as a “slush fund” and declared it wouldn’t pass the House. 

McConnell will consult with the White House on making another offer. 

"Once I get an answer to that, I will talk to Sen. Schumer again and see what we can do," he said. 

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAfter vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (S.D.) described the stopgap spending bill, also known as a continuing resolution (CR), as a fallback option.

“I think we’re kind of at an impasse, and the question is then is the fallback a CR,” he said. “It’s a possibility. Last resort obviously.”

— Niv Elis contributed.