House adds days next week to accommodate government funding deadline

Lower chamber will be in session through Feb. 15, when the current continuing resolution expires

A quote from the U.S. Constitution is affixed to the dais in the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Congress has until Feb. 15 to pass fiscal 2019 appropriations legislation or the government will shut down again. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is adding two days to its schedule next week to ensure the government is funded by Feb. 15, when the current continuing resolution expires. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Monday that the House will be in session Feb. 14 and 15 — a change to the previous schedule. That means the House will be in all five weekdays next week, ready to take action ahead of the government funding deadline. 

The House had only been scheduled to be in session Feb. 11-13. The Democratic Caucus’s annual retreat had initially been scheduled for Feb. 13-15, but last week leadership made the decision to postpone it due to the funding deadline.

A new date for the retreat has yet to be announced. 

Watch: What is a national emergency? How Congress gave the White House broad, far-reaching powers

The continuing resolution expiring Feb. 15 was a three-week stopgap that Congress passed Jan. 25 to end the 35-day partial government shutdown. 

The shutdown ended without a resolution to President Donald Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border. The president has threatened that without an agreement on wall funding by Feb. 15 — which he has said he doubts can be reached — he will shut down the government again or declare a national emergency to use defense funds to build the wall. 

Despite Trump’s doubts that a deal can be reached, congressional appropriators that are part of a House-Senate conference committee formed to negotiate Homeland Security funding are continuing to work toward a solution. Some of the conferees are currently visiting the border to assess the funding needs. 

Hoyer’s announcement on the floor schedule change suggested that the additional days may not be needed if an appropriations bill to keep the government funded beyond Feb. 15 is passed early.

It also came with a warning about what will happen if there is no resolution by the deadline: “If the House does not complete action on FY19 Appropriations by Friday, February 15, 2019, votes may occur in the House through the weekend.” 

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