The week ends with D.C. seemingly stymied on how to avoid a government shutdown next Friday, and all political eyes on Iowa, where on Monday the first votes will be counted for the 2024 Presidential race.

Next Friday, January 19, is the deadline under Speaker Johnson’s “laddered” funding schedule, when the budget authority for Ag, Energy, Transportation, HUD, and, importantly, Veteran Affairs expires, and government shutdowns would occur at midnight without action. Speaker Johnson, like his predecessor Speaker McCarthy, is being challenged by members of the conservative Freedom Caucus on cutting any deal with Democrats. Speaker Johnson has also expressed reservations about yet another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that is the traditional tool Congress uses to avoid a shutdown.

In the Senate, Leader Schumer has started the process that would lead to a cloture vote as early as Tuesday, when Congress returns after the long MLK weekend. Schumer’s plan is to have a short-term CR ready, to avoid the January 19 deadline. At this point, it is not clear what Speaker Johnson will do with a Senate-passed CR.

On top of the budget politics, there is a growing recognition that action needs to take place at the southern border, and the attacks last night on the Houthi ...

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