This Week on the Hill: Lawmakers Look to Break Government Funding Gridlock

December 17, 2018

Lawmakers will return to Washington this week in the hopes of striking a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown. The appropriations process has been deadlocked in a contentious debate over President Trump’s $5 billion border wall demand, leaving the seven remaining funding bills in limbo heading into Friday’s deadline. Among some of the options to avoid partial shutdown that have been pitched include: (1) a short-term continuing resolution (CR) through Christmas to allow lawmakers to come back and try to reach a deal before the end of the year; (2) a two-month CR through January to punt to the next Congress; and (3) a CR for the Department of Homeland Security and passage of the other six remaining appropriations bills.

The Senate will be the first chamber to resume legislative business this week. On the floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently announced that the Senate will begin consideration of a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. Despite substantial support from Senate Democrats and the Trump administration, the bill — which would ease some mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders —faces opposition from a group of GOP Senators who argue that the measure would let repeat offenders out of prison. 

Meanwhile, House lawmakers are expected to return to Washington on Wednesday to tackle the impending government funding deadline, but an official schedule for the truncated work week has yet to be announced.