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Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Congress continues to stagger from near-shutdown to near-shutdown, with the government set to run out of money on Thursday.

Leadership sources tell me they expect to seal yet another short-term funding deal to keep the government sputtering along while leaders of both parties try to compromise on the toughest items: defense spending, domestic spending levels, and an immigration deal.

  • Republican leadership sources expect the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus to oppose the funding bill, which means they'll need Democratic votes to keep the government open.
  • One source said they will attach disaster relief funding and "a grab bag of health-related spending” to sweeten the deal for Democrats, with the biggest expenditure on community health centers.

Sources in Republican and Democratic leadership tell me they've still not agreed on how long the temporary bill will last. They're currently discussing dates in late March. Then we'll lurch back to crisis mode.

Bottom line: The next month will be a mess, and it's hard to predict the outcome. Democrats and Republicans are trying to pass a massive spending deal to dramatically boost defense spending and inflate other domestic spending. It'll be expensive, add to the national debt, and further undermine the notion that Republicans are the party of fiscal discipline. They'll also need to raise the debt ceiling, while aiming to fund the border wall and protect DACA recipients.

A source close to Republican leadership texted that they don’t expect any other big legislative successes before the midterms.

"My general premise is the whole rest of the year is going to be them holding things together with chicken wire and duct tape,” he wrote.

A GOP leadership source rebutted: "There’ll still be big things to get done but obviously nothing will be bigger than tax reform. It’s the biggest thing in 30 years."

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

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