Week ahead: Lawmakers jump back into funding fight

Week ahead: Lawmakers jump back into funding fight
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The House returns Monday from the holiday recess with the threat of yet another government shutdown looming on the horizon.

Lawmakers face a Jan. 19 deadline to fund the federal government but are deeply divided on several key issues.

Democrats have insisted that a government funding bill include protection for "Dreamers," immigrants who were illegally brought into the country as children. But those protections are a hard sell for House conservatives.


Defense hawks are also fighting a Democratic push to increase defense and nondefense spending equally in a new funding deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (R-Ky.) following a closed-door meeting between congressional leadership and the White House Thursday said he was "optimistic" a two-year agreement could be reached, but Democrats must set aside their demand on nondefense spending.

"Any agreement must provide our armed forces with the resources they need to fulfill their missions. That means setting aside the misguided notion that new defense spending needs to be matched dollar for dollar by new nondefense spending," he said.

A deal on top-line spending numbers is needed so that appropriators can begin crafting a massive, trillion-dollar omnibus bill to fund the government through September.  

GOP and Democratic leaders, as well as the White House, have been negotiating behind closed doors for weeks, trying to lock down a two-year budget agreement that would cover the rest of fiscal 2018 as well as fiscal 2019. But so far, a deal has remained elusive.

Emerging from a meeting Wednesday in Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world Boehner throws support behind Republican who backed Trump impeachment MORE's (R-Wis.) office, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (D-Calif.) disclosed almost nothing about the discussion.

The Democratic leader said she's hopeful the sides are closer to a deal that would prevent the need for yet another short-term spending patch.

"It's all in the works," she said.

Lawmakers are also trying to strike a deal on extending the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which had been reauthorized many times with bipartisan support for decades.

Overall, lawmakers face a tight window to advance major legislation before election season kicks in and they head for the campaign trail. McConnell has expressed interest in holding a vote on a bipartisan bill to rollback the Dodd-Frank Act.

Last month, the Senate Banking Committee approved the bill offered by Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoTrump faces test of power with early endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Biden shifts on filibuster Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (R-Idaho), by a 16-7 vote. Nearly a dozen Democrats have sponsored the legislation

The Crapo bill seems likely to pass the Senate without issue, but House conservatives have already expressed opposition to the compromise.

The bill would exempt small and mid-size banks from the most stringent parts of Dodd-Frank and scale back federal oversight of the financial system as a whole. But it contains no efforts to rein in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which would have poisoned the effort for Democrats.

The bill's lack of restraints on the CFPB has already cost it support in the House. Several GOP members of the House Financial Services Committee told The Hill that they couldn't support a bill that doesn't touch the bureau, long loathed by Republicans and the finance industry.

President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE will also push for his long-awaited infrastructure package. But the GOP appears divided about whether the rebuilding effort will be a top priority for the party this year.

Trump will be hosting Ryan, McConnell and others at Camp David this weekend to map out the GOP's 2018 agenda. One of the priorities that will be discussed at the presidential retreat is "rebuilding our nation's crumbling infrastructure," a White House spokeswoman said Friday.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to tackle a $1 trillion infrastructure bill within his first 100 days in office, but the issue slipped to the back burner amid GOP priorities like health care and tax reform last year.

Trump, though, hopes to put infrastructure back at the top of his agenda in the new year.

Your week ahead:


  • Senate Banking Committee: Hearing on fighting money laundering and illicit finance, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2CxMxrl.
  • House Financial Services Committee: Hearing on "Evaluating CFIUS: Challenges Posed by a Changing Global Economy," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2CxBcHW.
  • House Financial Services Committee: Hearing on "Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime: Part III," 2 p.m. http://bit.ly/2Cw04zI.


  • House Foreign Affairs Committee: Hearing on "Sanctions and Financial Pressure: Major National Security Tools," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2CvcFTO.
  • House Financial Services Committee: Hearing on "A Further Examination of Federal Reserve Reform Proposals," 2 p.m. http://bit.ly/2CwBjTM.


Recap the week with Overnight Finance:

  • Tuesday: Hatch announces retirement from Senate | What you can expect from new tax code | Five ways finance laws could change in 2018 | Peter Thiel bets big on bitcoin
  • Wednesday: Leaders appear to make little progress on funding deal | NY to sue over Trump tax law | Feds block sale of Moneygram to Chinese firm
  • Thursday: SEC warns investors of illegal cryptocurrency trading | Senators fight over defense spending in budget talks | US businesses added 250K jobs in December | Tax filing season to begin Jan. 29


Today's stories:


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