House Democrats disclosed the next phase of the majority’s plan to reopen the government yesterday as the partial government funding lapse drags on to its 25th day. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced that the House will take up a pair of continuing resolutions (CR) this week that would temporarily reopen federal agencies without funding President Trump's border wall priority. The first short-term CR (H.J.Res.27) — which would fund closed government agencies until February 1 — will be called up for a vote under suspension of the rules today. The second CR (H.J.Res.28) would provide funding through February 28 and is expected to be taken up on Thursday.
In the Senate, consideration of these short-term measures remains unlikely at the moment as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will not call up spending bills that lack the president’s support. In response, Senate Democrats are blocking consideration of GOP-sponsored legislation in protest of the partial government shutdown. A bipartisan group of Senators are set to hold discussions about a path to end the ongoing partial government shutdown as talks remain at an impasse.
Elsewhere on the floor, Senate Democrats are expected to force a vote on a resolution (S.J.Res.2) that would disapprove of sanctions relief for companies associated with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. In the House, lawmakers will vote on a resolution “rejecting racism and white supremacy” following inflammatory statements made by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) last week. The vote comes one day after the GOP Steering Committee unanimously moved to strip Rep. King of his committee assignments.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a high-profile confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Attorney General nominee William Barr today. Barr — who previously served as Attorney General from 1991-93 under former President George H.W. Bush — is expected to be grilled by Senate Democrats over a memo he wrote last June that cast doubt on the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to prepared remarks, Barr is expected to tell Senators that it’s “vitally important” that the special counsel be allowed to complete his probe.