With dozens of policy riders still in play, House leaders won’t likely bring a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to the floor until next week.
Though no one thinks there will be another government shutdown, lawmakers involved in the funding negotiations say there are a lot of sticking points on issues like funding for Planned Parenthood and a new immigration deal floated by the White House that would temporarily protect some young immigrants facing deportation in exchange for border wall funding.
“There’s quite a few things yet to tie up,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Apparently it’s a whole host of things.”
Democrats are fighting efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, but also anti-environment and financial deregulation proposals that have been floated as well.
“There are a lot of riders that Republicans want to put in, poison pills that need to be taken off,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). “There are a whole bunch of them.”
House conservatives like Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) have also pushed for the omnibus to include a provision to defund sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities. While that provision is popular in the House, it’s not likely to pass muster in the Senate where nine Democratic votes will be needed to advance a bill.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen in the Senate,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee. “I mean Congressman Meadows may feel like that is a good idea but practically speaking that will be really difficult to get done.”
Current government funding expires on March 23, so lawmakers acknowledge they are running out of time to resolve all the disputes. Congress could buy itself more time with another short-term continuing resolution, but leaders on both sides of the aisle would prefer to see this last major must-pass legislation clear Congress so lawmakers can focus on the mid-term elections.