Another government shutdown is looming, and the new battle is over military spending

Paul Ryan.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Congress has until midnight Thursday to pass a fiscal 2018 spending bill, or more likely a fifth straight stopgap spending measure, and House Republicans unveiled their opening gambit on Monday night. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed to his caucus a bill that would fund the government at current levels until March 23, with the exception of the Defense Department, which would get a $30 billion boost and be funded for the rest of the fiscal year. The proposal, which also funds community health centers, is expected to pass with GOP votes in the House but die in the Senate.

Lawmakers made progress Monday on a full-year spending package, including a boost to domestic spending Democrats are demanding to match the boost in military spending pushed by Republicans. Senate Democrats won't approve a stopgap House measure that funds only the military. Republicans "don't want to work in a bipartisan fashion, and I think it's the message they've been sending for the last 13 months," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "They want to do it their way or no way."

If the House sends the Senate the current proposal, the Senate would likely strip out the full-year military part and send it back to the House. All of this has to take place in a 72-hour period in which House Democrats are supposed to leave Washington for their annual policy retreat and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised to hold a vote on legislation to protect DREAMers.

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