10 policy issues to watch in omnibus spending bill

Ryan McCrimmon, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- A swath of sticky policy debates could entangle an upcoming final spending package for fiscal 2018, as lawmakers aim to attach their pet policy "riders" to the must-pass bill.

Negotiators are aiming to complete work on the massive $1.2 trillion bill and pass it before March 23, when the fifth stopgap funding measure of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, expires. Before they do, they'll need a deal on which policy issues, from guns and immigration to Russia's election meddling, will ride alongside the spending package.

Here are 10 topics that could bog down the spending talks.


The omnibus is the next opportunity for lawmakers pushing to extend protections for about 700,000 young undocumented immigrants who are shielded from deportation by the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The Senate last month stymied competing versions of an immigration and border security deal. Some senators want to take another shot when the omnibus comes up -- potentially just a short-term extension of the DACA protections. And lawmakers on both sides have previously said they won't support any spending bills that don't include a DACA fix.

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President Donald Trump has moved to unwind the program starting March 5, but that executive action is on hold likely for months as federal courts consider the matter.

Besides the DACA debate, other immigration-related riders are likely to stoke a fight. Those might include Democratic proposals to prohibit government use of private immigrant detention facilities or restrict funding for Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, and Republican efforts to ban so-called sanctuary cities or force the U.S. Census Bureau to inquire about citizenship status.

Gun control

The Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland, Florida, has reignited the gun debate in Congress, a partisan fight that has entangled appropriations work in the past.


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