Lawmakers scramble to avert partial shutdown after weekend border security standoff

Congressional leaders are hoping to wrap up negotiations Monday for the six-measure spending package that would finally close out government funding work for the current fiscal year, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The Department of Homeland Security is now expected to be funded under a fresh bill within the six-measure package, rather than at static budget totals first enacted well over a year ago, following last-minute involvement from the White House over the weekend. While negotiators were considering a lengthy DHS spending stopgap because of partisan disputes over budgets for immigration and border security agencies, they pivoted over the weekend to dealmaking on updated levels.

Again facing a partial government shutdown at week’s end — this time for the Pentagon and many other key non-defense agencies — both sides have accused the other of brinkmanship.

A senior GOP aide said the White House is guilty of a “delay in communicating” the funding needs of DHS, pushing negotiations to “the brink of a shutdown.” And a White House official claimed over the weekend that Republicans are attempting to “sow chaos on the border ahead of November.”

Besides the Pentagon and DHS, the legislation would fund foreign operations and the IRS, along with education, health and labor programs. It also covers funding for congressional operations and the District of Columbia, plus the departments of State and Treasury.

Even if text is released on Monday, lawmakers are still risking a partial government funding lapse beginning just after midnight Saturday morning.

Debuting bill text on Monday would allow the House to vote on Thursday, since GOP leaders like to give lawmakers a full 72 hours to review bill text. But Senate leaders would then need to quickly lock in a time agreement to make sure the legislation can head to President Joe Biden’s desk by Friday night.