Nearing a deadline, Congress has approved another stopgap funding bill to keep federal agencies operating, this time through Dec. 22.
The two-week continuing resolution, which President Trump signed into law on Dec. 8—the day an earlier temporary spending bill was due to expire—buys a little time for Congress to resolve differences over federal spending for the rest of fiscal year 2018.
The House and the Senate cleared the measure on Sept. 7.
President Trump met at the White House with House and Senate leaders from both parties on Dec. 7 to discuss funding and other issues. Republicans want to see the cap on overall defense spending increased; Democrats are seeking similar increases for defense and non-defense spending.
Most major federal construction programs fall under the non-defense category.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the talks "productive," as did White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
But the two sides' characterizations of the talks also differed. Sanders said, "The parties agreed on the need for eliminating the defense sequester to deal with the grave national security we face." The sequester is automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that kick in if Congress cannot agree on other reductions.
But Schumer and Pelosi said, "Nothing specific has been agreed to, but discussions continue."
Democrats are seeking legislation to allow the "dreamers"—illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children—to stay in the country. President Trump in September announced he was phasing out the Obama administration program that shielded the dreamers from being deported.
Republicans want to keep immigration issues separate from the spending bill. Sanders also said Trump wants stronger enforcement against illegal immigrants and construction of a border wall.