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Congress punts funding deadline, setting the stage for another end-of-year episode of shutdown theater

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

While everyone was focused on the final day of the House Intelligence Committee’s public impeachment probe hearings, the Senate signed off on a measure averting a shutdown by punting the federal government funding deadline to the Friday before Christmas. President Trump later signed the resolution ahead of the midnight deadline. The vote was 74-20; the 20 voting against were all Republicans.

This deadline delay will give lawmakers another three weeks to come up with and pass a budget for fiscal year 2020, which began in October. The main sticking point now is once again border security — i.e., funding the border wall that President Trump promised the American people when he campaigned.

If this scenario seems at all familiar, it should. Last year’s record-breaking, 35-day partial government shutdown started with a just-before-Christmas deadline and an impasse over border security funding. This year, however, there’s no newly elected incoming Democratic House majority to put pressure on Republicans to deliver on the matter. Instead, it will be a question of how much attention lawmakers will have while the issue tries to share the spotlight with whatever phase of Democrats’ impeachment drama will be in the headlines by then.

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