While the House and Senate work to reconcile their tax bills, Congress has plenty of other pressing work to do, like trying to avoid a government shutdown after Friday. After bailing on a meeting with President Trump and Republican leaders last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday that they accepted an invitation for another meeting on Thursday to try hash out a spending deal. “We’re glad the White House has reached out and asked for a second meeting. We hope the President will go into this meeting with an open mind, rather than deciding that an agreement can’t be reached beforehand,” the Democrats wrote in a joint statement.
Republican leaders reportedly believe they’ll have the votes this week for a short-term extension that would shift the deadline to December 22 and buy lawmakers more time to hammer out a bipartisan deal setting spending levels for two years and addressing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the National Flood Insurance Program. Democrats are also pressing for a compromise to extend protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. And some defense hawks among the House GOP want to reduce budgetary uncertainty for the Pentagon by including a full year’s worth of defense funding in a short-term spending bill.
A vote on a two-week spending bill could happen in the House as soon as Wednesday, and could pass even without Democratic support. The Senate would then be expected to pass that bill with the help of Democrats. A second short-term funding extension would likely be needed, though, as lawmakers try to reach agreement on a longer-term deal — and “the odds of a shutdown would drastically increase during that time if a budget deal isn’t close,” Politico reports.