Members of the House and Senate will be back at work today, following their holiday break, and as they return to their offices, federal lawmakers face some daunting deadlines.
Indeed, I don't mean to ruin anyone's day, but now seems like a good time to point out that the next deadline for a possible government shutdown is next week, and it's entirely possible officials will not work out a deal in time. Vox had a good piece on this last week:
Now they're back, and there's a lot of work to do, likely all by January 19 -- when Congress must pass a federal spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down. [...]
If Democrats stay united, Republicans, who need at least [nine] Democrats in the Senate to meet the 60-vote threshold required to pass a spending bill, will have to make some serious compromises to get a final spending bill through.
During the last two major legislative fights -- health care and taxes -- Republicans used the budget-reconciliation process to circumvent filibuster rules. There wasn't much of anything Democrats could do to slow down the bills, other than to shine a light on the GOP plans in order to make them unpopular. (That worked.)
But to pass a spending package to keep the government's lights on, it's a very different story: in the Senate, the bill will need at least 60 votes to overcome the Dems' procedural hurdles, and in a 51-49 chamber, that will require Republicans to make some concessions.
Such as? Well, congressional Dems have more than a few priorities, but the party is clearly determined to work out an agreement on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy to protect Dreamers. Donald Trump said over the weekend that he supports a DACA deal -- indeed, he said the entire Republican leadership agrees -- though he'll insist on funding for a border wall first.
The likelihood of Democrats accepting these terms is roughly zero. Complicating matters, if the White House and Senate Republicans give in, and accept a DACA deal to prevent a shutdown, it's possible House Republicans will balk.
What's more, it's not the only area of concern.