Congressional appropriators are weighing whether to extend current government funding into early February to avoid a budget fight during Democrats’ impeachment proceedings.
The Senate has been having floor debate on bills to fund the government for fiscal 2020, but the pace of negotiations has been slow. Current short-term funding runs out Nov. 21 and it remains likely that another stopgap spending bill will be needed. “I think that’s a pretty realistic assessment of where we are today,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL). “Miracles do happen, but I haven’t seen a lot of them around here.”
Senate Democrats said the Trump administration’s insistence on more funding for a wall on the southern border is the main barrier to a budget deal, according to Bloomberg BNA. “Shelby can blame impeachment all he wants but it is their allocations that is standing in the way,” said Rep. David Price (D-NC), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “If not for this wall issue we could get this done tomorrow.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor earlier today to criticize Democrats’ objections to a Defense funding bill that would replenish $7 billion in military funds that Trump diverted toward construction of the border wall. Democrats say provisions are needed to prevent the administration from diverting funds in the future.
“This vital priority is not something that can take a backseat to partisan dysfunction,” McConnell said. “Our men and women in uniform don’t get to go on sabbatical while they wait for Congress to get its act together.”