Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday

Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers broke up their meeting on Tuesday with no deal to fund the government as the clock ticked toward a Dec. 20 deadline.

Appropriators face a long series of obstacles to reach a deal and prevent either having to pass a short-term spending measure to keep the government open, or seeing federal agencies shut down.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTwo women could lead a powerful Senate spending panel for first time in history Lobbying world Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Negotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence MORE (R-Ala.) had hoped to button up a deal by Sunday, and kept working into the week on a slew of tough issues that include President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE’s proposed border wall, immigration enforcement, abortion-related issues, and Trump’s use of emergency powers to reprogram money toward the wall.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Democrats hope to salvage Biden's agenda on Manchin's terms  MORE (D-Calif.) hosted a Tuesday meeting with Lowey, Shelby and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Suspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules MORE, but after just 24 minutes it split up. Appropriators said they had agreed to meet again Thursday in the hopes of working out most of the issues.

“Certainly we understand as appropriators that we have to get our work done, and we can finish our work, but with a couple of loose ends by the end of the week,” said Lowey.

“We’ve got a long list.” Shelby added. “They told us to get that list down.”

Congress is set to end its session next week, but has a lot of work ahead of it.

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In addition to needing to pass the 12 spending bills funding the government for the fiscal year, Democrats want to pass a newly renegotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada. They also are expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump.

If there is no deal on the spending bills for the full year, lawmakers could agree to another stopgap measure. But that would at least raise the risk of a shutdown since it’s not entirely clear the president would agree to the measure.

But Lowey said they were still far from considering a continuing resolution (CR), or even a plan to pass a combination of some spending bills with a partial CR for the remaining ones.

“I’m not focused on a CR at all. We’re adults, we’re appropriators. Mnuchin was there representing the administration, and if there’s a commitment to get our work done, I intend to keep that commitment,” she said.

Lowey even played down the importance of the Thursday deadline, comparing it to a deadline parents give children.

“If they don’t get their work done by Thursday, you say ‘mmmm, maybe I’ll give them a little more time,’” she said.