The House and Senate each passed on Thursday a two-week funding extension for the Department of Homeland Security and several other departments and agencies until Dec. 21, providing more time for Congress to sort out how much it wants to spend on a border security wall along portions of the southern border.
The resolution heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed, which is expected, but the president has warned he is willing to shut down DHS if Congress doesn’t provide $5 billion for the security wall the fiscal year 2019 appropriation. Trump’s administration only requested about $1.6 billion for the wall, which was matched by the Senate, but the House recommended $5 billion, which is the amount Trump is fixated on.
To help pay for the House’s recommendation, House Republican appropriators eliminated proposed funding for the Coast Guard’s first new heavy polar icebreaker in more than four decades. The Senate funds the requested $750 million for the Polar Security Cutter.
The Coast Guard hopes to award a detailed design and construction contract for the icebreaker during the third quarter of FY ’19.
DHS along with another half-dozen or so departments and agencies are operating under a continuing resolution set to expire Dec. 7. The death on Nov. 30 of former President George H. W. Bush slowed action in Congress this week as committee’s postponed meetings and senators and representatives paid their respects.
With a continuing resolution in place, the government doesn’t award contracts for new program starts and the pace of contracting typically slows.