Congress returns with just days to avoid shutdown

GOP leaders are eyeing a six-week funding bill that would keep the government’s lights on until March 23. The measure could include sweeteners like funding for community health centers.

But even though leaders dismissed concerns that the government could close down again when current funding runs dry on Thursday, it’s still unclear whether frustrated defense hawks will go along with the plan to pass a funding bill without a boost for the military.

“We’ve got to get a deal on [budget] caps,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.). “We have too many people, too many Republicans who are adamant that we got to come up with a defense number that takes into consideration the requirements that we need to meet for national security.”