Congress reaches a tentative deal to fund the government as shutdown deadline nears

Key Points
  • Top congressional appropriators say they have a tentative deal in principle on 12 appropriations bills. 
  • Congress needs to pass spending legislation before Dec. 20 to avoid a government shutdown. 
  • It is unclear if President Donald Trump will support the preliminary agreement. 
Lawmakers say they've reached tentative budget deal
Lawmakers say they've reached tentative budget deal

Congressional negotiators reached a tentative deal in principle Thursday to fund the government as the deadline to avoid a shutdown draws nearer.

Top lawmakers have a preliminary agreement on 12 appropriations bills to keep the government running past Dec. 20, the top House and Senate appropriators Rep. Nita Lowey and Sen. Richard Shelby announced following a meeting Thursday. It is unclear now if President Donald Trump will sign off on the spending agreement. His backing could affect whether the GOP-held Senate supports a deal. 

Negotiators are still finalizing details of an agreement, said Blair Taylor, a spokeswoman for Shelby. The appropriators met throughout the day Thursday as they pushed for a deal, including with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

Lawmakers have rushed to strike a deal to dodge a shutdown and fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Congress hopes to avoid another short-term measure to keep the government running, or a scenario where it can only fund some federal departments.

From left, Senate Appropriations chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The House wants to vote on appropriations bills early next week to give the Senate enough time to pass the legislation before funding lapses. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Thursday that he hoped the chamber could take up the bills by Tuesday. 

A flurry of activity could take place in the House next week before lawmakers leave for the holidays. The chamber is set to impeach a president for only the third time in U.S. history and may approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, one of President Donald Trump's policy priorities.

The details of the agreement were not immediately clear. Earlier this year, Congress passed a two-year agreement to suspend the federal debt ceiling and set budget levels. The bills under negotiation actually set where the money goes. 

Trump has clashed with congressional Democrats over money for barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

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