It’s set up to be a short and busy week in Washington as lawmakers return from the three-day weekend to a government that will shut down on Friday if Congress is unable to reach a funding solution. Odds are still in favor of congressional brinkmanship ultimately leading to a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the government running through Presidents’ Day, but with only a three-day window to pass such a measure, there will be little room for error. Adding to the uncertainty, House Democrats may line up against any spending measure that does not include a deal on immigration, meaning that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will need to avoid major defections from the budget hawks in his caucus that typically oppose the use of CRs.
Looking ahead, lawmakers appear to remain distant from a deal to protect individuals covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The primary negotiators — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — are reportedly in frequent contact as negotiations persist, but there is little chance a deal will be reached before the Friday deadline for government funding. President Trump has taken to Twitter to make his case, repeating calls for a wall along the nation’s southern border and accusing Democrats of negotiating in bad faith. While DACA is currently under protection from a court ruling, the Trump administration has said it intends to terminate the program on Mar. 5.
Following the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day yesterday, lawmakers return today for a full slate of floor action. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of the legislative vehicle (S.139) for the reauthorization of Sec. 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). While the bill may face challenges, a coalition of most Republicans and moderate Democrats should ensure that the measure is able to overcome the 60-vote threshold for passage.
Meanwhile, the House has three bills currently on its docket, including two measures advanced by the Financial Services Committee. Specifically, the House is due to consider a bill (H.R. 2954) that would exempt some institutions from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting