Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal

Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal

With just two weeks ahead of a shutdown deadline, top appropriators are hunkering down for crucial weekend negotiations on tough issues, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will ‘temporarily hold off’ on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE’s proposed border wall.

“We’re going to work over the weekend and I’m very positive,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyAppropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.). “I hope we’ll complete the work by the weekend.”

The House, Senate and White House face a Dec. 20 deadline to reach a deal, or they will be forced to approve a stopgap measure. With no new legislation, the government would shut down.

The 12 appropriations subcommittees, each of which deal with one of the 12 annual spending bills, are expected to hand their results to the committee’s top Republicans and Democrats by day’s end, leaving the most contentious issues for the weekend talks. 


Lawmakers hinted that leadership would have to work out any remaining issues by the middle of next week in order to avoid kicking the can down the road.

Among the most contentious issues are the $5 billion President Trump requested to build his proposed border wall, plus another $3.6 billion to backfill military construction accounts he redirected toward the wall under emergency powers. Democrats are also targeting Trump’s ability to use transfer authority to redirect funds for the wall, pushing to reduce the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement beds and challenging administration policy on abortion.

Trump remains the wild card in the talks. His last-minute reversal on a stopgap measure that didn’t include money for his wall led to a 35-day shutdown that began last December. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOn The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal Trump talks spending with key GOP chairman as deadline looms MORE (R-Ala.) spoke with Trump on Thursday night about the bills. A source familiar with the conversation said Trump was positive and encouraging about cooperation, despite reports in recent days that he would consider blocking bills without a satisfactory result on the wall.

But while Lowey expressed her usual brand of optimism ahead of the talks, others were less upbeat. Shelby said Thursday that he was less hopeful and floated the possibility of a stopgap going into March.


House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter ‘existential’ climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don’t make him look as good | ‘Forever chemicals’ measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-Calif.) said a stopgap measure could be much shorter.

“We would just to go to a [continuing] resolution until couple, you know, until after Christmas,” she said at a CNN town hall Thursday night.

She did not expect a shutdown, she added.

The sides have found consensus on many of the bills.

“It’s pretty well buttoned down,” said Rep. Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturAppropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases MORE (D-Ohio), who heads the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee. “My job is pretty much finished.”

But Democrats have broadly opposed passing any of the bills until there is agreement on all of them. Several continue to present challenges on hot-button political issues, including immigration and abortion.

“We’re concerned about the policy provisions. We have not been able to resolve all of those,” said Rep. Hal RogersHarold (Hal) Dallas RogersAppropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal Trump says he’ll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop ‘illegal’ .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (Ky.), the top Republican on the state and foreign operations subcommittee.

“But that’s the way it always is,” he added.