Efforts to avoid another government shutdown came to a halt over the weekend after disagreements boiled over again regarding various border protection factors, including interior enforcement within the U.S., detention beds, and paying for a border barrier, according to reports. Those same reports said that Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) acknowledged on Sunday that negotiations had stalled, and he put the odds of getting a deal at 50-50. If no deal is reached by midnight on Friday, February 15, the government could again be shut down or a short-term stopgap measure must be passed. President Trump also holds that he has the option to declare a national emergency to free up funding for a wall.
Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to consider the nomination of William Barr as Attorney General. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture on the nomination, signaling a vote could happen next week. This past week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Barr’s nomination along party lines, 12-10. After the Senate dispenses with Barr’s nomination, they are expected to turn to Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported Wheeler’s nomination last week along party lines.