Congress has a plan to avoid a government shutdown — if it can keep Trump out of the way

Congress has a plan to avoid a government shutdown — if it can keep Trump out of the way
President Donald J. Trump applauds during the federal judicial confirmation milestone event Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Julianna Luz)
News & Politics

If it can keep Donald Trump out of the way, Congress can avoid a government shutdown on Dec. 21, and possibly even avoid having to do another stopgap spending bill. The chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees have reached an agreement "in principle" on $1.37 trillion in government funding bills.

The agreement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, and Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, so whatever they agreed on has his approval, apparently. Both chambers are expected to hold floor votes next week on at least two "minibus" packages, rather than the usual omnibus that includes all 12 necessary spending bills.

Thursday afternoon, the keeper of the House floor schedule, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, said, "It is my hope that we will consider those appropriations bills on the floor on Tuesday; perhaps a series of minibus packages to fund all of government for the remainder of the fiscal year." But that might be getting slightly ahead of things. As of Wednesday, there were still at least 100 open items, and no agreement on border wall spending.

One bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, will definitely be done, with its funding for parental leave for federal workers. It's on the Senate schedule for early next week, and Trump has said he will sign it.

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