WASHINGTON — Congress appeared to reach a tentative bipartisan agreement to fund the federal government past the Dec. 20 deadline, avoiding another shutdown just before the holidays.
“We’re close to closure — finalizing details," a spokesperson for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Thursday.
The deal addresses 12 appropriations bills to fund the government, though details of the agreement were not yet known. Nothing is finalized until lawmakers actually vote on the measure.
Republicans and Democrats had disagreed on funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. President Donald Trump asked for $8.6 billion for the wall funding in his budget request to Congress, more than six times what Congress had allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years.
Funding for the border wall, a top priority for Trump, has been a stumbling block to negotiations in the past, leading to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history in December 2018 — one that extended into the beginning of this year. Congress temporarily extended government funding twice this year as both parties continued to disagree on spending for the wall.
Despite the apparent agreement in principle, lawmakers will be on a tight deadline to pass spending bills before the Dec. 20 deadline, and as many prepare to head home to their districts for the holidays. If the deal holds up, Congress could be passing the bipartisan agreement at the same time the House votes to impeach Trump next week.