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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

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

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