Fights facing Congress in 2018

Lawmakers will face several divisive fights in January as they return to Washington. Leadership from both parties are poised to meet with top White House aides on Wednesday to discuss the spate of looming deadlines and unresolved issues kicked over from December.

Meanwhile, Republicans — feeling increasingly anxious about the midterms — are eager to put wins on the board as they try to show they can govern. 

If Congress can finish off fights related to unfinished business from last year, a series of different challenges await.

Here's a look at some of the big fights.

Government funding and budget caps 

Congress has a matter of weeks to reach a deal to avoid automatic cuts known as sequestration. A White House spokesperson said congressional leadership would meet with Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget chief, as well as Marc Short, the director of legislative affairs, to discuss the caps and other legislation. 

Leadership and the White House have been negotiating for more than a month but have so far failed to lock in an agreement. The White House said in December that they had a "tentative" deal on defense spending and were working toward an agreement on nondefense, but that has yet to crystallize.

Democrats are demanding parity, meaning any increase in money for the military would have to be matched by an equal increase for the rest of the government. In addition to the budget caps, lawmakers need to prevent another government shutdown by Jan. 19, after passing a stopgap bill before Christmas that continued funding until that date. Lawmakers are expected to pass another short-term bill to give appropriators more time to craft an omnibus, which would fund the government through September. 

Congress will also need to vote in early 2018 to increase the debt ceiling.The Treasury Department is expected to run out of borrowing options by March. The deadline will likely spark another fight, with conservatives poised to demand spending cuts that will likely be rejected by Democrats. 

Read more at The Hill