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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: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
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