Little progress as spending talks push past weekend

Little progress as spending talks push past weekend
© Greg Nash
Top appropriators made little progress in crafting a new spending deal over the weekend, leaving them little time to reach a deal before a Dec. 20 deadline. 
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTop House Democrats call for watchdog probe into Pompeo's Jerusalem speech With Biden, advocates sense momentum for lifting abortion funding ban Progressives look to flex their muscle in next Congress after primary wins MORE (D-N.Y.) and her Senate counterpart Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline Senate GOP eyes early exit MORE (R-Ala.) had hoped to work out politically contentious issues in the spending packages by the end of the weekend, leaving only the toughest issues for leadership to hammer out.

The talks began on Friday, when top Democrats and Republicans from 12 appropriations subcommittees responsible for annual spending bills submitted progress from their own talks to the full committee chairs, leaving them to haggle over tough issues such as how to tackle President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE's proposed border wall.

Other contentious issues included immigration enforcement, abortion and Trump's use of emergency powers to transfer military funds toward the wall.

Appropriators have just days to work out a deal on the issues if they are to move packages of spending bills through both the House and Senate by Dec. 20 to avoid a shutdown. Without new spending bills, Congress would have to pass a stopgap funding measure to prevent a government closure.

Shelby has suggested a stopgap could extend as far as March, but House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAirline industry applauds Democrats for including aid in coronavirus relief package Democrats unveil scaled-down .2T coronavirus relief package Trump tax reveal roils presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) said last week it could go until just after Christmas.

Whether President Trump will agree to sign another stopgap without a deal on the wall remains an open question. Last year, the fight over the wall led to a 35-day shutdown.
There are reasons to think both sides would want to avoid a shutdown this time, given a presidential election that is less than a year away. But Trump is seen as a wild card in the negotiations, and tensions are high with House Democrats expected to impeach Trump before Christmas.