The race to fund the government is on (again)

After months of disagreements over spending, five short-term budget deals and fights about health care, immigration, ...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 12:17 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 12:17 PM

After months of disagreements over spending, five short-term budget deals and fights about health care, immigration, a New York infrastructure project and gun control, Congress is set to unveil and pass a massive spending bill in upcoming days that may finally address some of Capitol Hill's most contentious issues.

Congress must pass a spending bill by Friday or risk shutting down the government, but there are still outstanding divisions over what should be included in the $1.3 trillion bill.

With the midterm election just months away, the massive package aimed at funding programs represents more than just a typical funding bill. It's one of the last opportunities members may have to make their legislative mark and assure their pet projects get funded before the end of the year.

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"This is a moving train," Sen. Charlie Dent, a Republican from Pennsylvania, told CNN. "That's why everybody wants to get on this one. It's a moving train, and there aren't going to be many vehicles like this between now and the election."

House Republicans will gather Monday evening to discuss the package, one GOP congressional source confirmed to CNN.

Some of the stickiest holdups have little to do with money and much more to do with policy riders that lawmakers hope can get tucked into the bill and passed without the controversy the bills would attract if they were stand-alone provisions. Here are some of the issues that we could see in the omnibus measure expected to be released Sunday or Monday.

Health care

There is a bipartisan effort to include some kind of health care market stabilization funding in the upcoming omnibus. After Republicans spent a year trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, failing and then successfully repealing one piece -- the individual mandate -- as part of the tax bill, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have looked at ways they could prevent the costs of health care from spiking for those remaining in the marketplace.

Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, have spent months trying to attach funding for reinsurance and what are known as cost-sharing reduction payments, which reimburse insurers for covering low-income individuals, to spending bills. But the omnibus is the big test.

The latest provision by Collins and Alexander would include $30 billion for an Obamacare stabilization measure aimed at keeping down the cost of health insurance across the board and three years of funding for cost-sharing reduction payments. The White House stopped making those payments in October. A preliminary analysis from the Congressional Budget Office showed the legislation would help curb health care costs by 10% next year and up to 20% in the following two years.

But despite support for the underlying reinsurance and cost-sharing reduction payments, the latest version of the plan to bolster the insurance market also includes restrictions for abortion, an effort to shore up Republican votes in the House. That is a sticking point for Democrats, who argue that Republicans are injecting a partisan fight into the legislation.

The divisive Gateway project

President Donald Trump hasn't weighed in much on the spending package, but he isn't keen on including a massive, multibillion-dollar rail project in it.

The project, which has been pushed by lawmakers from New York and New Jersey and would help fund a new tunnel between the states, has been an irritant for Trump, who, according to The Washington Post, has personally lobbied to stop it.

Transportation secretary: 'Yes,' Trump seeking to scrap New York Gateway proposal

The project is a top priority for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, but whether it is included could put the rest of the omnibus in jeopardy if Trump vetoes the bill over the provision.

Immigration

It's still an open question (although the chances are very slim) whether the omnibus will include protections for recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While part of that battle is playing out in the courts, Congress could help settle some of the surrounding uncertainty.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that aides were floating the idea of trading three years of border wall funding for a three-year continuation of the DACA program. One GOP source told CNN that the effort was serious. But then the White House publicly struck down the trial balloon.

But funding the wall has been one of Trump's key priorities since the campaign trail. Getting any money for it would be deemed a victory, even if that funding were short term. Earlier this year, after a disagreement over DACA shut down the government, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would have provided $25 billion for the wall and other border security in exchange for a path to citizenship for 1.8 million-eligible DACA recipients. The White House worked to kill the proposal because it wanted more dramatic changes to the country's legal immigration system.

School safety and guns

While Congress doesn't appear poised to have an all-out debate on gun control on the Senate floor anytime soon, there still is the potential to include narrow provisions in the omnibus.

The House passed legislation last week that would provide funding to strengthen school safety and the Senate has a similar package that could be funded in the spending bill. Another open question is whether Fix NICs, a bipartisan bill that would incentivize states and federal agencies to enter data into the country's background check system, would be included. The lead Republican sponsor of the bill, Majority Whip John Cornyn, told reporters last week that he was hopeful. Democrats have argued they want to see a more robust package included and that Fix NICs, while they support it, is not enough.

"I can't believe we have 72 bipartisan cosponsors for a bill and can't get it done," Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said when asked about the prospects for Fix NICs in the bill. "That's pretty embarrassing for this institution. So I'm hopeful."

This story has been updated to include additional developments.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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