WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators and White House officials are discussing a one-week budget bill that would delay a partial government shutdown while Washington prepares for the state funeral of former president George H.W. Bush, according to several people briefed on the talks.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, President Donald Trump weighed in, as well, saying he'd possibly sign a two-week funding extension while the Bush memorials took place, according to an Associated Press report.
A final decision has not been made but could come as soon as Sunday, Dec. 2, when Trump returns to Washington.
Funding for parts of the federal government is set to expire at midnight Dec. 7, but Congress is deadlocked over Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
White House officials had begun preparing for a shutdown in recent days. Numerous agencies would be impacted, including those that deal with homeland security, law enforcement, agriculture programs and foreign aid.
The funeral for Bush is expected to take place Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.
Trump has declared Wednesday, Dec. 5, a national day of mourning. Lawmakers from both parties tend to set aside their differences during such periods, which is why they are considering a short-term spending bill that would push back any budgetary showdown.
Democrats have so far rejected Trump's push for more wall funding, and they can block spending bills in the Senate because of the narrow 51 to 49 Republican majority there. And Democrats, fresh off picking up 40 House seats in the November midterm elections, have vowed to hold a tougher line against Trump's immigration policies.
Trump, meanwhile, has just one more month in his first term as president to work with a Congress that is completely controlled by Republicans. Democrats take control of the House early in January.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Trump's most famous promises was a vow to build a wall along the southern border to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States.
The promise was very popular with his supporters, and he repeatedly vowed that Mexico would pay for its construction. Since becoming president, however, Trump has shifted his position, saying now that the wall needs to be constructed with taxpayer money. This has put some Republicans in an uncomfortable position of spending money on a barrier that few of them initially campaigned on but has become one of Trump's core goals.
If Congress does not pass a spending bill by Dec. 7, it would lead to a partial government shutdown. It would be limited in scope since Congress has passed spending bills for the military and health programs, among other things. But it could still lead to major disruptions, as thousands of federal workers would probably be sent home without pay.
This article was written by Damian Paletta and Erica Werner, reporters for The Washington Post.