Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be once again in Congress for the long haul. Aides to the two-term independent lawmaker and potential 2020 presidential candidate told Roll Call on Monday that he is likely to be among the Democrats backing a new continuing resolution bill, making his participation in the effort somewhat of a surprise.
The parties had until midnight Monday to agree on a stopgap measure to keep the government funded, or shut down.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Republicans are “extremely close” to an agreement on a bill.
The House is expected to vote Tuesday on the measure, though details of what will be in it were not released immediately.
What appears likely is that it will include more funding for infrastructure and border security, both top Democratic priorities.
What’s been tentatively agreed upon is:
– $35 billion for border security and border protection, including funding for the barrier erected by President Donald Trump last year and money to combat drugs. This is a bit less than what Trump wanted ($44 billion) and a lot less than what Democrats wanted (an additional $38 billion) — and just over half of what he originally asked for ($58 billion).
– $1.3 billion for related administration efforts, which would include a request for roughly 300 miles of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
– $1.6 billion for border security and technology “on a mission-by-mission basis.” This was, in part, the issue where talks broke down last week. Democrats weren’t comfortable with a word-for-word description of the funded technology, and Democrats took issue with administration language that appeared to make border security the sole reason for having the barrier in place.
– $7 billion in border security “on a mission-by-mission basis.” That’s less than the $8 billion requested by Trump, a figure that Trump is putting on the line in the talks.
– No votes on immigration and no votes on permanent protections for Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Democrats argue that this is not a stand-alone immigration matter.
– $1.7 billion for humanitarian assistance in regard to “contingency measures,” which would include additional physical barriers. A senior GOP aide said the same language would be in an amendment to the legislation.
– $21.7 billion for a “bipartisan infrastructure investment bill,” which is a process of writing an infrastructure bill that will spend a significant amount of money, but would not be one up for debate.
– The measure would likely include a suspension of the debt ceiling until at least February 8, 2020. Congressional negotiators agreed to include a one-year suspension, one day longer than the four-month suspension that the Senate approved last week. This would suspend the debt ceiling until at least Feb. 8, 2020, according to aides. This suspension will last until after the elections in November 2020, which Republicans think would allow a clearer picture of the outcome of the midterms.
– The measure would likely prevent the federal government from cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, a major disagreement between Republicans and Democrats. (There are estimated to be 10 to 20 cities that apply certain laws that discourage the deportation of undocumented immigrants.)