This Week on the Hill: 116th Congress Set to Gavel in Amid Contentious Government Shutdown

The 116th Congress is set to gavel in tomorrow at noon amid a government funding lapse that has shut down roughly 25 percent of the federal government. Set to lead the lower chamber for the first time since 2010, House Democrats plan to pass two separate bills — one funding eight departments that have been closed since December 22, 2018 through this September, and another temporarily reopening the Department of Homeland Security for one month through February 8. However, the Democrat plan is likely dead on arrival after the Trump administration characterized it as a “non-starter.”

Poised to gavel in with a boosted 53-47 majority, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated that he will not consider a bill that President Trump refuses to sign despite passing a similar funding deal by unanimous consent last month. Following a series of failed negotiations over the holidays, Congressional leaders are set to receive a briefing on border security at the White House with the president today, marking what would be their first face-to-face meeting since the funding lapse. Dozens of departments and agencies have been impacted by the 12-day shutdown, including: the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Small Business Administration, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC).