Congress confronts jam-packed December with shutdown deadline looming

Under current law, Congress may appropriate no more than $549 billion for defense programs and $516 billion for nondefense programs next year, a cut from current levels.

.. But the Trump administration and defense hawks want to boost defense spending to more than $600 billion, and Democrats are demanding a dollar-for-dollar increase in nondefense spending.

.. Aides from both parties warned that if a spending accord is not reached this week, hopes for the passage of a broad appropriations bill before Christmas would be dim.

.. The GOP tax bill, which is being considered under special procedures that do not require bipartisan cooperation, has made some Democrats increasingly resistant to collaborating with Republicans in any sense.

.. lawmakers also are pushing to deliver tens of billions of dollars in additional federal aid to disaster victims across the country before the year ends

.. Complicating the passage of any spending deal are the highly charged politics of health care and immigration.

.. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program .. giving Congress until March to codify protections for the young immigrants

.. A Jones victory could spell doom for the GOP tax bill if it is not passed into law by the time he would be seated, probably in late December or early January.

.. “If Roy Moore wins and he comes into the Senate in January, there’s going to immediately be an ethics investigation, which is going to be a cloud . . . and is going to be a distraction for us and our agenda,” Thune said

.. The Children’s Health Insurance Program expired Sept. 30

.. While states have been able to continue their programs using surplus funds, at least five states say they will inform families that their coverage is in jeopardy and begin winding down their programs if Congress does not act in coming weeks.

.. A federal law that allows intelligence agencies to gather foreign electronic communications on U.S. soil will expire Dec. 31,