Trump and congressional leaders will meet to resolve funding impasse
Congress and the White House are beginning to panic about passing a short-term extension that would fund the government past the December 8 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Looking to resolve the situation, the president and congressional leaders will meet early next week and try to hammer out a compromise.
Complicating matters is the Democrats' insistence that an amendment authorizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) be included in the short-term funding deal. Trump and Republicans want to deal with the issue separately before the March 8 expiration date of the program.
The so-called Big Four – Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – haven't even agreed on total government spending levels that would allow appropriators to write a massive funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year.
That means a short-term funding extension to keep the government operating beyond a Dec. 8 deadline is all but inevitable. Congressional leaders would likely need to reach an agreement on the top-line figures by early next week for there to be any chance of finishing an omnibus spending bill in December.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m., according to congressional sources and a White House official. White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters later said in a statement, "The President will be meeting with congressional leaders next week to discuss end-of-year legislative issues."
In addition to having to move a must-pass bill to fund the government, Republicans hope to pass a sweeping rewrite of the tax code by Christmas.
I don't think Trump and the Democrats will have much trouble coming to an agreement on spending. But GOP leaders may balk if Trump gives in to the Democrats' demand that DACA authorization be included. Senate majority leader McConnell is still trying to reach a consensus about how many – if any – DACA permit-holders should be allowed to stay. There may be some Republicans willing to blow up the short-term funding bill if DACA is included.
In addition to the short-term budget extension, Republicans in the Senate are still trying to come up with a tax reform package that could pass. They've set a Christmas deadline to make it happen. With four or five GOP senators still on the fence, whether they can achieve tax reform at all is an open question.