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Senate Republicans Prepare Two-Month CR to Avert Shutdown

Bill would keep unfunded agencies open until February.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly plans to introduce a stopgap bill Wednesday to fund for two months the roughly one-third of federal agencies that do not yet have full-year appropriations, a move that could avert a looming partial government shutdown.

Congress has until Friday to come to an agreement on how to fund the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice, as well as other independent agencies. Otherwise, most of these entities would be forced to shut down some or all of their operations and furlough at least some employees.

Democratic lawmakers and President Trump had been at an impasse over the portion of a spending package for the Homeland Security Department, specifically how much to spend on border security and Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. As recently as Tuesday morning, Republicans’ latest offer—$1.3 billion in border security funding coupled with a $1 billion “slush fund” for immigration enforcement—was rejected by Democratic negotiators.

Lawmakers signaled that the draft continuing resolution, which would provide funding through Feb. 8, could be voted on in the Senate as soon as Wednesday evening. And although Trump on Tuesday seemed to cave on his threat to shut down the government if he did not receive at least $5 billion in wall funding, it is unclear whether he will sign the measure.