After a Shutdown Test of Wills Comes a Test of Governance

By the nature of their role in filling in the details of federal funding bills, Democrats and Republicans on the appropriations committees work closely with one another and know how to cut deals. Lawmakers in both parties believe that they can do the same this time around if left to their own devices and temporarily freed from the harsh partisanship surrounding the shutdown.

“I think we can all come together,” said Representative Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.

But that is going to require some adjustments on the part of some lawmakers. Despite strong solidarity shown by Democrats so far, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, continued on Tuesday to try to sow divisions between Ms. Pelosi and the Democratic rank and file, suggesting many Democrats have shown much more willingness than their leader to back tougher border security.

“I do believe Speaker Pelosi is out of step with her party,” Mr. McCarthy said.

While Democrats might disagree on border security details, they have generally agreed to back new steps deemed effective, efficient and economical. At the same time, Ms. Pelosi’s handling of her showdown with the president has only strengthened her standing in her party, and Mr. McCarthy is unlikely to provoke much separation.

On Tuesday, it was Mr. McCarthy who seemed to be trying to put distance between House Republicans and the politically loaded “W” word, saying Republicans were open to new phraseology if it would settle the fight.

“It could be ‘barrier,’” Mr. McCarthy told reporters. “It doesn’t have to be a wall.”

The overriding sentiment on Capitol Hill, though, was one unifying both parties: find some way through the coming negotiations to reach a deal and avoid a repeat of the shutdown that sent federal employees into food lines, shuttered federal agencies and cost billions of dollars.

“I’m for whatever works that prevents the level of dysfunction we’ve seen on full display the last month,” Mr. McConnell told reporters.

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