Next Week on the Hill: Shutdown Fight Looms as Trump Rebuffs DACA Agreement, Senate to Consider FISA Reauthorization

Republican leadership will be gearing up for a busy and contentious week, as the government funding deadline of Jan. 19 looms next week. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that the House will consider another short term continuing resolution (CR) next week that would keep the government open through the Presidents’ Day holiday next month. With Democrats threatening to withhold their votes until a deal is reached on immigration, GOP leaders may be forced to pass the CR without Democratic support.

Progress on reaching a long-term deal over government funding have been complicated by lukewarm support from President Trump many rank and file Republicans over a tenuous that agreement would protect “Dreamers” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The rumored agreement — developed by a bipartisan group including Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO),  Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) — would shield Dreamers from deportation, make additional policy changes to immigration laws, and offer funding for border security.

Both chambers will return to legislative action next Tuesday following the observation of Martin Luther King Day. The Senate is slated to resume consideration of the legislative vehicle for reauthorization of Sec. 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The bill (S.139) — which was approved in the House yesterday (256-164)  — is expected to face procedural challenges in the Senate, where Sens. Ron Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have indicated they will filibuster the House-passed bill. Sec. 702 of FISA authorizes U.S. intelligence services to collect electronic communications of non-Americans stored by internet service providers.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue over to how to handle a slate of health care programs that are up for congressional action early this year. Some discussion is emerging over the House voting next week on a stand-alone extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which has been subject to several short-term extensions since funding lapsed last September. But there is some concern among health care advocates that other issues such as health care “extenders” and ACA taxes may not be resolved alongside CHIP — and advocates have largely been relying on CHIP to be the vehicle for these respective programs.