Congress week ahead: Government shutdown deadline looms

Congress returns this week with just eight legislative days before a possible government shutdown.Top Republic...

Posted: Jan 8, 2018 12:04 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2018 12:04 PM

Congress returns this week with just eight legislative days before a possible government shutdown.

Top Republican leaders huddled with President Donald Trump over the weekend at Camp David to chart the 2018 legislative agenda and prepare for the challenging midterm elections in November, but more immediately they need to figure out a budget deal before the January 19 deadline when the government runs out of money.

Republican members of Congress are pressing for an uptick in defense spending

Democrats say any increase must be matched equally with domestic programs

Bipartisan budget talks began last week, but Democrats and Republicans are still restating their long-held positions -- the GOP pressing for a significant uptick in defense spending and Democrats insisting that any increase for the Pentagon be matched with equal increase for domestic programs.

RELATED: Trump reiterates he wants DACA as long as it comes with border wall

Perhaps an even thornier issue is what to do about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which is set to expire in early March. Many progressive Democrats are pressing their leaders not to agree to any spending deal that also doesn't ensure that undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children aren't required to leave the country. Republicans want to deal with the issue separately, but say they can work together on a bipartisan plan. All eyes are on a meeting with Trump at the White House this week, where lawmakers are hoping to learn what exactly the White House will accept.

Pot protocol

There was bipartisan pushback against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' move to roll back the Obama administration's position of allowing states to determine how they handled marijuana laws.

Members of both parties blasted the move as inconsistent with Sessions' own position of deferring to states' rights. But it's unclear whether there is any real momentum for Congress to step in and pass legislation to put the power back in the hands of those states that have passed measures to legalize pot for medical and recreational purposes.

Intelligence committee

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes reached a deal with the Department of Justice for documents he requested in the Russia probe. The panel's investigation continues along stark partisan lines, with Republicans pressing to wrap up interviews while Democrats argue there is more work to be done.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said on CNN last week that he expected former White House adviser Steve Bannon to appear before the committee soon.

Notable hearings

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a non binding resolution supporting the people of Iran, many of whom are protesting the current regime in Tehran.

The Senate Finance Committee will hear from Trump's nominee to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. His nomination -- which was not held over from the last session of the Senate and had to be re-submitted by the White House -- is expected to face some pointed questions over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and Medicaid and Medicare funding.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will also be considering the re-submission of judicial nominees, including Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana for the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and David Stras for the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Judiciary Committee hearings have gained must-watch status since the simple-yet-devastating questioning by Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican, that effectively derailed the nomination of Matthew Petersen to the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

In Duncan's case, Kennedy has provided the traditional "blue slip" approval, a process by which a nominee's home state senator turns in a blue piece of paper signifying his or her approval for a confirmation hearing to be held -- but Kennedy marked himself as "undecided" on Duncan's nomination.

During Duncan's previous appearance before the committee, Kennedy made clear that he was not consulted by the White House before Duncan's nomination -- a move that is typically part of the blue slip process -- saying Duncan's questionnaire "seems to imply that Mr. Duncan's name came from Sen. (Bill) Cassidy and me. At least from my point of view, that is not accurate."

"In truth, I don't know Mr. Duncan very well," Kennedy said in the November hearing. "I hope that he can demonstrate to me today that he is the second coming of Justice (Oliver Wendell) Holmes or Justice (Antonin) Scalia and not the second cousin of somebody who is politically connected in the Washington swamp."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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