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The next 24 to 48 hours are crucial to avoid a potential government shutdown

Congress is once again running right up to the brink of a governmen...

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 9:31 AM
Updated: Dec 6, 2019 10:00 AM

Congress is once again running right up to the brink of a government shutdown. There is cautious optimism, but still work to be done. Progress has been made but the largest outstanding issues still stand. Everyone involved wants an agreement, but those same lawmakers and administration officials are still haggling over issues -- large and small.

Bottom line:

Negotiators have about 24 to 48 hours to wrap up an agreement on all 12 spending bills to have any chance to move them in such a short time frame. This is very, very tight -- and a short-term off-ramp will be needed if nothing comes together before Monday.

Underscoring that point:

The 'four corners' -- the top Democratic and Republican appropriators in the House and Senate -- are expected to speak this weekend.

That's an important sign -- anything not agreed to at a lower subcommittee level needs to be hammered out by those four, and they've got a good history of doing just that. But it's a heavy lift.

The clock:

Lawmakers have 14 days until the government runs out of money.

The calendar:

Time is the biggest enemy of any agreement. Beyond hammering out the very contentious policy issues, moving all 12 bills -- no matter the vehicle -- takes time. That is not something that is in abundance. There are two weeks and a laundry list of huge items outside of spending bills to deal with. This is akin to a legislative traffic jam staring everyone in the face. Right now it's not out of the realm of possibility Democrats could attempt to move a government funding package, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement approval, their prescription drug bill and the National Defense Authorization Act, and impeachment on that final week before Christmas. That's a lot.

Remember this:

Once the House votes to impeach the President, it will essentially shut the Senate down until the trial is complete.

In other words, that vote likely needs to come after any spending vote for the Senate to have a chance to vote to keep the government open. That complicates things. Again, this is a traffic jam right now.

The outstanding issues:

There are a number of issues that need to be ironed out, and more have popped up in the last week as the individual subcommittees have worked (for the most part quite successfully, aides say) in closing out their respective bills. The biggest, however, remains the same: President Donald Trump's border wall request and the transfer authority power that has allowed the administration to shift funds allocated for other things over to finance portions of the wall.

So will there be a shutdown:

Nobody is talking about a shutdown -- including administration officials I'm talking to. If there isn't a deal on all 12 bills, there will be a continuing resolution into 2020.

The real shutdown threat is that given the tight timeline and sheer mass of things on the 2019 to-do list, lawmakers somehow bumble into one. That's not out of the realm of possibility, but not likely at this point, lawmakers and aides say.

Pelosi's point:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday night, on this very issue:

'I don't think we're headed for a shutdown. I don't think anybody wants that.'

She noted that if a global agreement on funding isn't reached, there would be a continuing resolution into 2020.

Some 30,000-foot perspective from the Hill:

It's difficult to overstate just how poisonous lawmakers from both parties, in both chambers, view the idea of another shutdown. The partial government shutdown that ended in January, the longest in US history, burned everyone. Not in the political sense -- that blame landed squarely on the White House and Republicans -- but in the sense of embarrassment about what had occurred from a governing perspective under their watch. Nobody wants that again.

Why not just punt now:

There's a reason Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed to trying to get all the spending bills done by the end of the year: it's likely the only way to secure the significant funding boosts for defense and domestic spending secured in this year's budget agreement.

'If we CR into next year talks are over,' one source involved in the process said. 'The administration is perfectly fine not having the increased spending anyway.'

That's why lawmakers are pressing so hard in such a tight timeline to get the entire thing done now. There are tens of billions of dollars at stake.

The options:

-Reach agreement on all 12 spending bills, and figure out the mechanism to move them.

-Pass a continuing resolution, likely into February or March.

-Pair full year bills where there is agreement with a CR for any outstanding measures (i.e. the always contentious Department of Homeland Security bill)

Of note:

That third option is a natural landing spot -- something lawmakers have done repeatedly in the past and would allow them to take advantage of the hard fought budget agreement funding increases for key defense and domestic spending priorities. However, it is unlikely to happen this time around. The White House has made clear to lawmakers, sources say, that splitting the Department of Homeland Security bill off from the rest of the full year bills is not something it would support. In other words, leaving DHS out in the cold is likely the biggest potential shutdown threat. This significantly limits the options of congressional negotiators.

How does the wall get resolved:

The White House has been clear that there can be no restrictions on transfer authority, sources involved say. But they've indicated they will come down significantly from the $8.6 billion wall funding request (most of which would come in the DHS bill.) Democrats, still outraged at how the White House has shifted money to finance the wall, have been reluctant to agree to a single dollar for the border wall and haven't given an inch on the transfer authority issue. There's conceivably a sweet spot there, but they haven't settled on it yet, people involved say.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 836049

Reported Deaths: 10323
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin98533705
Cuyahoga831801065
Hamilton61931441
Montgomery42028399
Summit33849736
Lucas30524605
Butler30003228
Stark25093419
Warren19083140
Lorain18418212
Mahoning16931337
Lake15592136
Clermont15335105
Delaware1403077
Licking12819132
Trumbull12515307
Fairfield1232480
Greene11729135
Medina11286165
Clark10672264
Wood10081156
Allen9639126
Portage9006107
Miami895273
Richland8910116
Marion7377113
Tuscarawas7177174
Columbiana7164124
Pickaway710350
Wayne6855165
Muskingum678241
Erie5976118
Hancock542990
Ross535287
Scioto527063
Geauga491755
Darke459489
Ashtabula443172
Lawrence439353
Union437028
Sandusky427462
Mercer427387
Seneca417357
Auglaize416259
Huron416138
Shelby413521
Jefferson409066
Belmont403740
Washington375940
Putnam367872
Athens36759
Madison343429
Knox340122
Ashland336838
Fulton328543
Defiance322578
Crawford316371
Preble313836
Brown298819
Logan296529
Ottawa283934
Clinton281243
Williams272866
Highland266018
Jackson259043
Guernsey245325
Champaign244427
Fayette229729
Morrow22574
Perry223318
Holmes220362
Henry213547
Hardin206433
Coshocton199620
Van Wert198744
Wyandot192549
Gallia192126
Adams167415
Pike167417
Hocking165523
Carroll151316
Paulding141121
Noble118740
Meigs105021
Monroe97229
Harrison8598
Morgan79728
Vinton67613
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