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WH deal with House GOP sets tricky week — and potentially weekend vote

White House officials and top aides to the Big Four congressional leaders reached a deal on Homeland Security funding on Monday night, setting up a contentious week on Capitol Hill.

This is the final piece of a massive six-bill minibus package of FY2024 spending bills. The package includes the Defense, Labor-HHS, Legislative Branch, Financial Services-General Government and State-Foreign Operations, as well as Homeland Security. In total, it’s about three-quarters of federal discretionary spending. Funding for these bills ends at midnight Friday.

The agreement on the DHS bill — actually a continuing resolution to fund the department through Sept. 30 — involved a lot of back and forth between the Biden administration and Speaker Mike Johnson’s aides. In fact, House and Senate staffers thought they were nearing an agreement on a yearlong stopgap for DHS on Saturday night, but the administration was unhappy with the contours of the bill, forcing a reset of the negotiations.

The hangup: The White House wanted more flexibility to shuffle around money within DHS between now and the end of the fiscal year. Senior House Republican leadership aides wanted more funding for detention beds for undocumented migrants and Border Patrol agents.

For the White House, the negotiations were led by OMB Director Shalanda Young — a longtime senior House Appropriations Committee aide — and Shuwanza Goff, the top White House legislative liaison who served for years in the Democratic leadership.

In a sign of internal party tensions, Democratic aides told us Monday evening that the deal was cut between House Republicans and the White House, preferring to keep a bit of distance from the final accord. There also was an “angry call” Sunday night between White House aides and Senate Democratic staffers upset over the last-minute maneuvering by senior administration officials, according to multiple sources.

It’s now up to the House leadership, legislative counsel and Appropriations Committee staffers to put the text of this agreement together quickly. Every bill besides the Homeland CR has essentially been done now for days.

Yet Johnson is going to have a difficult week. The House GOP leadership has promised to give lawmakers 72 hours to read the funding legislation before a vote. At this point, it seems as if the DHS legislation will be ready for review on Wednesday. This would peg a House vote on the six-bill package at some point on Saturday, which is after the shutdown deadline.

Johnson can try to convince Republicans to shrink the 72 hours, but he’ll get major pushback from conservative hardliners already opposed to the measure. Remember: the package represents roughly $1 trillion in spending, and the final agreement was cut behind closed doors with no member input. Johnson would be hard-pressed to argue that a vote should be expedited.

TikTok news: It’s also shaping up to be an important week for the fate of the House-passed bill to force social media app TikTok to divest from its Chinese-based parent ByteDance or face a U.S. ban.

National security officials are scheduled to brief members of the Senate Commerce and Intelligence committees Wednesday to “provide an update on the threat posed by foreign adversaries’ exploitation of Americans’ sensitive data, including related to TikTok,” according to an aide. We scooped this Monday in the PM edition.

The briefers for the classified session will include officials from the Justice Department, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. House members got two similar briefings before voting on their TikTok bill.

Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) — who chair the Commerce and Intelligence panels, respectively — are co-hosting the briefing. Warner supports the House bill, while Cantwell prefers a different approach.

Warner was previously hesitant about naming a private company in legislation, but conversations with DOJ lawyers alleviated those concerns. DOJ has been leading the administration’s divestment push, and some DOJ officials will brief Senate aides later today on TikTok.

The big question now is whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring up the House bill for a floor vote. That Cantwell and Warner aren’t aligned complicates Schumer’s calculus.

Last Friday, aides to Schumer told Democratic legislative directors during a conference call that the majority leader wants input from senators about not just the House-passed TikTok bill but also other legislation addressing foreign technology threats, according to two people familiar with the call.

The Schumer aides also referenced our reporting about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, saying he wants a Commerce hearing on the House TikTok bill.

Schumer isn’t yet committing to putting a bill on the floor. This could change if the White House makes a more concerted push for a Senate vote. So far, Biden is only saying he supports the bill. Absent presidential heft, Schumer won’t be in any rush.

One other note: We want to congratulate our friends at C-SPAN for 45 years of continuous coverage of Congress. The House of Representatives went on the air on March 19, 1979. And nothing has ever been the same!

— Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Andrew Desiderio

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