The short-term spending deal passed in September, which keeps the federal government funded at fiscal year (FY) 2017 levels and temporarily raises the debt ceiling, expires on December 8th. The long list of legislative priorities Congress plans to address over the remainder of the year could impact negotiations on an end-of-year funding and debt ceiling package.
These priorities include a Republican push to pass tax reform legislation by the end of the year, hopes to find a legislative fix for the soon-expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the need to approve additional supplemental funds for hurricane-impacted areas, among others.
Lawmakers’ attention will be focused on tax reform over the next few weeks as both Senate and House legislation progresses, potentially slowing down discussions over spending levels for FY 2018. In addition, roughly two dozen House Democrats have vowed to oppose any year-end deal that does not include a legislative solution for the DACA program, while President Trump has told Senate Republicans he does not support including a DACA authorization in the year-end deal – ensuring the DACA issue will be a major sticking point between the two parties in December.
Should lawmakers be unable to hammer out a long-term deal by the end of the year in light of negotiations over other policy issues, another short-term continuing resolution keeping funding at current levels is likely to be passed, pushing the debate into early next year.