Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis

Lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a government shutdown as they barrel toward another funding deadline without a clear path forward.

GOP leadership is remaining tightlipped about their plan, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) declining to outline their next steps before a Jan. 19 deadline.

They are expected to offer a short-term stopgap measure given the fast-approaching deadline and a failure to lock down a deal on raising spending ceilings for defense and non-defense.

“I think if we are able to reach an agreement, it will still take a little bit of time to prepare the omnibus,” McConnell told reporters this week during a leadership press conference, in a sign that a stopgap could be coming.

“But I’m not ready to make an announcement yet about the way forward.”

If the GOP does move to a short-term measure, Democrats are tightlipped about whether they’ll go along with the plan.

Republicans are accusing Democrats of holding the government “hostage” over demands to protect immigrants known as “Dreamers” who fear the end of an Obama-era program could risk their deportation beginning in March.

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