Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan commission to address border security and border wall funding reached an “agreement in principle” late Monday. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby told Fox News he thinks and hopes the negotiators struck a deal that President Trump would approve—“I think so, I hope so,” Shelby said. Any potential deal would have to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by Friday, which is the deadline to avoid another government shutdown.
As the clock winds down on a Republican-controlled Congress, House members are rushing to load down critical spending bills with their own priorities. Proposals including a farm bill, Saudi sanctions, and prison reform are being considered as add-ons to a massive spending bill that would keep dozens of departments and agencies funded through the next year. But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said, “You don’t want to overload the truck,” but he might consider the farm bill. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham is pushing for a prison and sentencing reform proposal favored by President Trump, and the Democrats are insisting on a measure that would protect Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump—even though the Mueller investigation is in its final stages as we speak.
MEANWHILE—The GOP has passed just five of 12 spending bills necessary to keep the government funded, setting up another government shutdown showdown that will come to a head just before Christmas. Democrats are refusing to entertain even a red cent of spending on a border wall, even rejecting a “DACA” fix in exchange. Lawmakers need to pass seven spending bills covering NASA and the Justice, Commerce, Agriculture and Homeland Security departments to stave off a partial shutdown right before Christmas. Trump is insisting on $5 billion in funding for the border wall.
—QUOTABLE: “Over my dead body will we provide another nickel for these folks to do what they are doing here.” -DEM Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut
—QUOTABLE: “We want to protect Bob Mueller, and I’m not going to vote for any spending bill that doesn’t protect Bob Mueller.” -DEM Rep. Eric Swalwell