Congress seems set to avert weekend government shutdown

Speaker Ryan Touts Tax Feform Progress, Says GOP Will Seek Short Term Spending Extension

Last week, an unexpected attack by Trump on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi prompted the two to skip a bargaining session that was planned then.

Pelosi said Democrats have no interest in a government shutdown, but they can't support the GOP's continuing resolution because it omits a long list of provisions the Democrats consider must-pass this year, including protections for so-called Dreamers and funding for the opioid crisis, hurricane and wildfire relief, veterans issues and pension protections ...

Conservative House Republicans said their real focus was on what would happen next.

Republicans generally favor more money for defense programs, while Democrats often demand equal increases for domestic social programs. "It's a well-knit together group of people", Trump said.

Democrats are also seeking an agreement to extend protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the US illegally as children. "Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes", Trump wrote on November 28. Trump ended safeguards against deportation three months ago but has expressed an openness to restoring them. "Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open".

Meadows said his group had not taken a final position on whether it will back the short-term bill, but he and several other conservatives stopped short of saying they would oppose it.

With Senate passage also considered likely, the remarks by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., seemed to erase any doubt that Congress would approve legislation keeping federal agencies afloat through December 22.


After a monthslong detente during which they worked alongside House leaders to advance Republican health care and tax bills, the hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus have reasserted their presence this week as Friday's shutdown deadline looms. They want voters riveted on the party's almost $1.5 trillion tax bill, the paramount priority for them and Trump.

"We've got to get across the finish line on tax reform, any distraction from that is a problem, and so the general consensus of most of our members is we want to talk to leadership and make sure that we've got tax reform on the right track, and that may allow for greater flexibility on some of the spending issues". It was unclear how Republicans could prevent Senate Democrats from blocking such a move.

Mark Meadows and several others in the roughly 30-member group aren't ruling out backing a leadership-backed spending measure that would expire December 22.

Republicans can pass such a measure in the House with only GOP votes because they require just a simple majority, but with approximately 40 conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus usually opposed to spending bills, House Democrats have been needed to pass such measures in recent years.

Top Republicans are adamant about not sparking a federal shutdown that would deal the latest blow to a party that has strained all year to show it can govern effectively.

The legislation will include some short-term help for states running out of money to finance a health insurance programme for lower-income children.

Democratic votes for any budget measure will be crucial in the Senate, where Republicans by themselves lack the 60 votes needed to approve the legislation. CHIP, which has nearly always been a bipartisan priority, expired over two months ago, but Congressional Republicans continued to play games with this vital program that helps the most vulnerable children in our society ...

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