The House legislation would push the next funding deadline to the Friday before Christmas, giving House and Senate lawmakers time to knit together their respective tax-cutting bills into a single piece of legislation to present to President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee postponed its consideration of the two-week bill to give leadership more time to work with rank-and-file members, a sign that more work still needed to be done. Democrats would likely oppose that approach because it doesn't address DACA.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will also attend the negotiating session and had urged their Democratic counterparts to reschedule it. "But if it's a short-term CR, it gives us a little more time to do the things we're talking about", Schumer said.
Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, the former chair of both the Republican Study Committee and the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, told USA TODAY he was supportive of a separate defense department funding bill. But after the Republican caucus met Tuesday, Walker said he could be "OK" with a bill that ended December 22 if Republican leaders were willing to negotiate with conservatives on the next phase of crafting a budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
Republicans have also been clear that they don't want to muddy the waters of a spending deal with a controversial negotiation on what to do about recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, those individuals who came to the country illegally, but were given protected status under the Obama administration.
"The only one at the moment who's flirted with a shutdown is President Trump, who tweeted earlier this year that 'we could use a good shutdown to fix the mess, '" Schumer said.
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Under the law, the defense spending cap is to drop to $549 billion in 2018 from $551 billion in 2017, while nondefense spending is to drop to $516 billion from $518 billion.
A separate bill would allow Republicans to increase defense spending by raising spending caps that were enacted under the Budget Control Act of 2011 to cut spending.
Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi pulled out of the first such meeting Tuesday due to a tweet from Trump attacking them and suggesting no deal was possible. Even once the caps are agreed upon, hundreds of line items and policy provisions in the final spending bill need to be hammered out. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said House leaders recognized that possibility in their Friday morning meeting. Congress is expected to vote on the measure this week.
Congressional leaders hope to use the two weeks afforded by the stopgap spending bill to work out an overall deal and attach it to another short-term spending bill that would be needed by December 22 to continue federal spending into January.
After getting assurances from leadership, some Freedom Caucus members seemed to warm to the idea of a two-week bill, instead of a three-week bill they had pushed for that would have kept the government funded until December 30. "I don't think so", Brat said.