Shutdown looms as Congress initiates legislative ping pong

The House is expected to pass a bill today to fund government to March 23

House Republicans, on the other hand, argue that their plan will buy appropriators enough time to finalize a looming deal to raise spending caps.

“It is absolutely vital that all 12 of the regular Appropriations bills be negotiated and signed into law,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey, wrote in a statement announcing the release of the bill text. “This CR will allow for additional time for a deal to be reached on topline spending levels for this fiscal year. Once this agreement is made, my Committee will rapidly go to work with the Senate to complete the final legislation.”

Without Democratic support in the upper chamber, the Senate appears likely to strip out the defense money, initiating a game of legislative ping pong that could drag on up to the deadline.

A Democratic aide says their caucus has a contingency plan in place to bus members back to the Capitol, should the need arise.