Shutdown Unlikely; So Is Budget Deal

Washington Report

(January 30, 2018) With only nine days remaining on the current continuing resolution—the fourth in fiscal 2018—a budget deal remains doubtful as lawmakers differ on military spending, budget caps and how to deal with several hundred thousand “dreamers.”

There seems to be no appetite for another government shutdown, like the one that lasted three days earlier this month. But several hurdles must be overcome for a budget deal.

“The window for a [spending] caps deal is rapidly closing,” a senior Republican aide told Politico. “We’re going to be done with the fiscal year by the time we get a deal if we let negotiations continue by inertia.

Some Democrats say any budget deal must include protection for “dreamers,” illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children, but a few Dems want to separate the issues to avoid a shutdown. President Donald Trump has said deportation of them will begin in March absent a resolution.

House Republicans are expected to pass a defense spending bill this week that busts the budget caps, Politico reported. And the Senate may take it up next week to force Democrats to vote against a spending boost for the Pentagon. But Democrats have said any defense boost should be accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar hike in nondefense programs they favor.

“If there’s a problem, it’s on the Republican side,” a senior Democratic aide told the publication.

There is talk, Politico said, of another continuing resolution that would last one month. Under continuing resolutions, the government is funded at the previous fiscal year’s levels, but it does continue to operate