Speed Reads

a nightmare before Christmas?

The House and Senate have a plan to keep the government running until right before Christmas

House and Senate leaders agreed Monday on a deal to fund the federal government until Dec. 20, avoiding a government shutdown that would have begun Friday morning.

The stopgap funding resolution, expected to come up for a House vote on Tuesday, contains several additions requested by Democrats, Politico reports: a 3.1 military pay raise, $7.5 billion to fully fund the Census Bureau for its 2020 decennial census, and a measure to avoid a $7.6 billion cut to state highway funds next summer. It does not contain money Democrats has sought for historically black colleges and universities nor any funds for President Trump's border wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed last week to postpone the inevitable border wall fight.

"Neither the White House nor congressional leaders believe a shutdown will occur — especially as House Democrats move forward with an impeachment inquiry against the president," Politico reports. "But nearly two months into the new government fiscal year, no progress has been made on any of the 12 annual spending bills."

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Monday night that the spending talks have been "frustrating" and his preference was for a "clean" funding bill with no add-ons. "The tenor has been good, the tone of negotiations have been good," he said. "The results are puny." The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), also seemed disappointed in the lack of progress: "I think we could have reached an agreement a month ago, and we should have."