Continuing Resolution

Congress Headed Down Road to Shutdown Nowhere, Top Senate GOP Appropriator Says
Alabama’s Richard Shelby says he thinks a shutdown is all but inevitable

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A partial government shutdown is all but inevitable, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday.

“It looks like we could be headed down the road to nowhere,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby said. “That’s what it looks like at the moment because we’ve got nine days to go.”

Capitol Ink | Gridlock Grande

Senate Releases 2019 Legislative Calendar
Features Include a two-week October recess

The Senate has released its 2019 calendar, which largely comports with their House counterparts. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate schedule for the rest of the year remains in flux, but the Senate calendar for 2019 is firmed out and generally lines up with the schedule outlined across the Dome by the new House Democratic majority.

After returning for a day to convene on Thursday, Jan. 3, the Senate will be back to work on Tuesday, Jan. 8, taking recess weeks that generally coincide with holidays, including two weeks around Easter Sunday.

Border Wall Meeting Spirals as Trump Bickers With Pelosi, Schumer
President stands firm on $5B ask as shutdown possibility nears

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued Tuesday with President Donald Trump over his proposed southern border wall. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 12:49 p.m. | President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats bickered about his proposed southern border in front of reporters Tuesday as they sought to avert a partial government shutdown.

Trump grew angry at one point and threatened to shutter part of the federal government over the holidays unless Congress meets his demands, with the Democrats warning he would take responsibility for what they already are calling a “Trump shutdown.”

Trump Hedges on $5 Billion for Border Wall on Day of Meeting With Schumer, Pelosi
President hints at military construction of barrier, which could be problematic legally

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just before a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders on border security funding, President Donald Trump appeared to soften his demand for $5 billion in construction funds for his southern border wall proposal.

in a series of tweets, the president sought to build a case that portions of fencing and levee wall already built or in the works on his watch have successfully increased border security to a degree, even without the money he wants. And in a subsequent tweet, Trump foreshadows “some important announcements” in his administration’s trade talks with China; if true, any positive headlines of those talks could be drowned out by an ugly partial government shutdown that Trump likely would be blamed for.

Kevin Brady Drops Extenders, Adds Health Care Tax Rollbacks
House Ways and Means chairman deleted almost $30 billion in tax provisions

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is eyeing two possible lame-duck tax vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has refashioned his year-end tax package to try to maximize GOP votes for a stand-alone bill, while dropping provisions the Senate could still pick up and pass this year, possibly as part of a huge wrap-up spending bill.

Brady, R-Texas, deleted $29.9 billion worth of tax provisions, collectively known as “extenders” because they are continually revived for a year or two at a time, that faced GOP opposition in the House. That includes one revenue-raiser disliked by the coal mining industry, which would extend the current tax they pay to support disabled miners with black lung disease; the tax would otherwise be slashed substantially next year.

Top Oversight Democrat Wants Hearing on Trump ‘Wasting’ DHS Funds
Agency paid consulting firm nearly $14 million to hire two border patrol agents

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly has called for a public hearing on the Trump administration’s reported wasteful spending on border security. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The second-highest ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is calling for a public hearing on the Trump administration’s reported wasteful spending on border security.

The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found that a staffing plan green-lighted by the president has been marred by wasted resources and overlapping responsibilities among employees and contractors.

Budget Scuffle Stalls ‘Blue Water’ Benefits for Vietnam Vets
Science, costs concern for GOP holdouts; Dems yell hypocrisy

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson remains bullish the Senate can pass the measure to make more Vietnam era veterans eligible for treatment for exposure to Agent Orange. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and veterans groups are working to convince a few last holdouts to stop blocking a quick floor vote on a bill to extend benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Advocates are lobbying President Donald Trump to sign the bill if the Senate clears it. But Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has questions about whether science backs up the policy. And Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming is concerned about its nearly $2.2 billion cost over a decade.

Shutdown Fears Abound, Despite Temporary Reprieve
Another deadline looming in appropriations standoff

Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, says Transportation-HUD measure not among the “problem child” spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve.

President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday.

Trump’s Christmas Wish List: Billions for Wildfire Suppression, Unaccompanied Children
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 91

Trump is seeking billions more in spending. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images