Congress has only a few days to avoid shutdown

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill with a budget package at the top of their to-do list.

That's because Congress is once again facing a funding deadline at the end of this week.

Negotiators say they've struck a deal on the budget bills, but their funding deadline is Friday, leaving lawmakers racing the clock to avoid a shutdown.

"It is their job to keep the government open,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Congress passed part of the annual government budget earlier this month, but they are still working to get the rest of it done and the current funding expires on Friday.

“There are critical programs that Americans need, American families need,” Jean-Pierre added.

Negotiators got stuck on a spending deal for the Department of Homeland Security.

The White House wants more money for the agency as immigration issues become increasingly urgent.

"DHS needs additional funding, we've always said that to deal with the security operations and much more that we're dealing with at the border,” said Jean-Pierre.

Lawmakers seem to have resolved that issue but voting on the budget package could take days, leaving it unclear if they can avoid a shutdown.

Republican Senator John Cornyn expressed frustration that Congress is again working to pass last minute funding.

"I'm deeply disappointed we find ourselves in this state of affairs nearly halfway through the current fiscal year,” said Cornyn.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine also says this should've been resolved sooner but blames the delays on House Republicans fighting over choosing a new speaker.

"That really slowed the process down this year. So here we are in March, 6 months into the fiscal year and finally getting the budget done,” said Kaine.

Last week at a Republican retreat House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed optimism that lawmakers can get it done.

"I think the appropriations process is very close to being wound down.” Johnson said.

Along with DHS this budget will also outline funding for the Pentagon, the Health Department, and the Labor Department.

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