Tentative deal reached to avoid shutdown as negotiators resolve Homeland Security bill

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders struck a deal Monday evening on funding the Department of Homeland Security, two sources familiar with the talks said, paving the way for lawmakers to begin processing the remaining spending bills and avert a government shutdown next weekend.

Details of the deal, which another source characterized as an agreement in principle, were not immediately available.

Funding is set to expire Saturday morning for the departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Labor and Health and Human Services and a host of other agencies. The other five funding bills were effectively settled by the end of last week, with only the Homeland Security bill presenting deep divisions Republicans and Democrats were unable to settle.

Heading into the weekend, negotiators were poised to release a package that includes the five other funding bills and would fund DHS separately on an extended stopgap basis, largely continuing the status quo, before reviving attempts to negotiate a full-year funding bill for the department through the end of September.

Separately, a source familiar with negotiations said the White House and other Democrats wanted more border security and enforcement money, while another source said Republicans wanted to reprioritize DHS funds toward the agency’s core mission, without elaborating.

The pivot back to those negotiations slowed the release of text for all six bills. And it will still be difficult for Congress to move the spending bills since the Appropriations committees have not yet released the legislative text of the bills. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has indicted he’ll give lawmakers 72 hours to read the text before a vote. The Senate will then require unanimous consent from all members to vote by 11:59 p.m. ET Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown the following day.

The deal is being negotiated by Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the White House and top appropriators in both chambers. Congress, which broke up the process into two, passed the first tranche of bills this month.

The political salience of immigration, particularly among conservatives, presents a land mine for Johnson.

On Monday afternoon, two leaders of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, Reps. Bob Good, R-Va., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, issued a letter from 41 Republicans demanding that any DHS funding bill include “the core elements of H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act,” or President Joe Biden’s immigration policies won’t change, they said.

“Therefore, we ask you to join us in rejecting the appropriations package (or anything similar) slated to be before the House that will directly fund these disastrous policies, and choose instead to stand against this assault on the American people,” they wrote.

The hard-right members are widely expected to vote against the package, and their votes aren’t necessary to create the bipartisan coalition necessary to pass the bill. But those members can create political headaches for Johnson if they’re sufficiently angry about it.

While the two parties have clashed over the appropriate venue for border policy changes — the funding bill or a separate package — the White House has also sought additional funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other operational needs.

Republicans rejected additional funding for ICE in a bipartisan border deal agreed to by senators and the White House, demanding additional policy changes. But they, too, have demands in the funding bill. The White House has also sought increased flexibility to aid border operations, sources with knowledge of the discussion said. It’s unclear how many of Biden’s requests will make it into the bill.

It’s highly unusual for Congress to continue haggling over government funding nearly half a year into the fiscal year. Funding for fiscal year 2025 is due by the end of September.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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