Senate under pressure: Schumer cancels part of holiday recess to address long list of tasks

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The Senate has its work cut out for it next week after Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., canceled part of the holiday recess to schedule a vote on the national security supplemental package. Negotiations on border policy reforms in the bill continued over the weekend. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was in the Senate Saturday to continue negotiations on border policies in the supplemental, but it’s unclear whether any deal has been reached between Democratic and Republican negotiators.

Aside from the supplemental, however, there are still several business items the upper chamber will have to address — reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, appropriations bills to replenish some government agencies and votes on 11 outstanding military promotions held up by Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

And the clock is ticking. The current FAA authorization expires Dec. 31. On Monday, the House passed an extension of the FAA reauthorization package, which means the Senate will have to act on the House’s markup soon.

SENATE DEMOCRATS AT ODDS WITH SCHUMER OVER BORDER TALKS: ‘TERRIBLY MISTAKEN’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Mike Johnson must reach some kind of agreement on government funding by Nov. 17 to avoid a partial shutdown. (Getty Images )

Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rankng member of the Senate Commerce Committee, attempted Thursday to get a vote on the FAA extension, but Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., blocked it. 

“I will object to this request because I think it is critically important for us to use this moment to fulfill our obligations in the world, to the United States national security and our commitment to democracy, both here and throughout the western world,” Bennet said on the floor.

Talks have been ongoing between senators and Biden administration officials this week after Republicans refused to pass some $60 billion in additional aid to Ukraine unless it is tied to strict border security measures, such as immediate screenings for asylum processing and quicker expulsions for illegal entrants.

The total amount of supplemental aid the White House first requested in October amounts to roughly $106 billion and includes $14 billion to assist Israel. 

MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS AGAIN TOP 10K IN A SINGLE DAY AS LAWMAKERS EYE NEW BORDER LIMITS

Joe Biden at border

President Biden walks with U.S. Border Patrol agents along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Jan. 8, 2023.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Senate Appropriations Committee will also have to agree on a topline spending figure during the holiday break to propel a package across the finish line by the first Jan. 19 deadline. Otherwise, a potential government shutdown may be imminent. 

The Senate previously passed a continuing resolution (CR) before Thanksgiving recess to fund federal agencies into early next year, temporarily averting a government shutdown.

House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested creating two staggered deadlines for funding different parts of the government in an effort to prevent Congress from lumping all 12 spending bills into a massive “omnibus” package.

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES SENATE WILL CANCEL PART OF HOLIDAY RECESS AS BORDER TALKS CONTINUE

Ted Cruz during Senate hearing

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attends a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in Hart Building May 11, 2023.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Bills concerning military construction and veterans affairs, agriculture, energy and water, transportation and Housing and Urban Development must be worked out by Jan. 19, while the remaining eight appropriations bills must be decided upon by Feb. 2.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report. 

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