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Shutdown watch

Trump, Pence and Congressional leaders meet in December. Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Unless Congress passes a funding bill before Friday, the government will shut down.

Here's what we expect this week, based on conversations with senior House and Senate aides:

  • Congress will likely — at the last minute, of course — pass a short-term  funding bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), to keep the government open while they keep negotiating on the big ticket items.
  • There'll be no immigration deal before the deadline. Democrats and Republicans are far from agreeing on a DACA deal, and the president is still raging after Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin and others presented him with what he considers a completely unacceptable “bipartisan deal.”
  • A new group of Republicans and Democrats — top House and Senate members Kevin McCarthy, Steny Hoyer, Dick Durbin and John Cornyn — have started meeting to hash out an immigration deal that works for the president. These discussions are very preliminary, and will continue this week.

Inside the GOP messaging strategy: Democrats don't want to support a government funding bill unless it has a DACA fix. So, Republicans will try to brand Democrats as the shutdown party — saying they're holding the government hostage, including disaster relief payments, essential services, and troop funding — all in the service of “illegal immigration.”

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