House Republican leaders had wanted to pass a final FY2018 funding bill last Friday but acknowledged that they’re behind schedule, ditching the plans to release the $1.3 trillion spending bill last week.  The delay sets up a crazy floor schedule this week in both the House and Senate as both chambers try to enact federal funding by the March 23 deadline.

Instead of Friday, March 16, a spending package is now likely to be unveiled early next week. Despite the delay, lawmakers and aides say they’re refusing to consider a sixth short-term funding patch in case Congress were to blow past the March 23 deadline.

What’s the holdup? There still remains a long list:

— Nearly $1 billion in funding for the Gateway project in New York City, which President Donald Trump has threatened to veto.
— Deportation relief for DREAMers and funding for Trump’s proposed border wall
— The “Mexico City” policy, aka a prohibition on U.S. funding for international groups that provide abortion services, and funding for Planned Parenthood.
— Obamacare stabilization funds, also known as cost-sharing subsidies or CSRs.
— A tax provision that would allow churches and nonprofits to participate in political campaigns.

Rumors are that these contentious pieces of the bill have been dropped.  Other controversial riders could also be left out of the final bill. However, in their place could be new riders not previously seen impacting public lands in Alaska and Minnesota (PolyMet land exchange), etc.

Farm Bill

The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said yesterday that the 2018 Farm Bill won’t be marked up on March 20 as originally planned.  The Committee is still trying to work out an agreement on controversial changes to the food stamp program. Ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has said that Democrats could not support the Farm Bill in its current form because it imposes stricter work requirements on some 8 million recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The delay means that the next chance for a markup won’t come until after Congress returns from a two-week recess on April 10.