Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

US House passes stopgap spending bill to avoid gov't shutdown

Nancy Pelosi. REUTERS  Joshua Roberts Politics Politics Pelosi Democrats Will Not Back Short Term Funding Bill By Reuters
Sammy Stanley | 08 December, 2017, 01:51

Pelosi and Schumer left the White House without speaking to reporters. He blamed Democrats, saying they want "illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime". At midnight on Friday, the government will have no operating budget; a shutdown is possible.

Conservatives opposed to a two-week spending bill almost derailed a key procedural vote Monday night enabling the House to begin negotiations with the Senate over the tax bill. The idea is to buy time for negotiations on unfinished bipartisan business on Capitol Hill, including the budget, a key children's health program and aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico.

Those negotiations are sure to be tricky.

In further indication of the problems GOP leaders face, 34 House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urging him to hold a vote by year's end on extending protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the USA illegally as children.

The immigrants are viewed sympathetically by the public and most lawmakers but face deportation in a few months because Trump reversed administrative protections provided to them by former President Barack Obama.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the leadership was "receiving an update on our military by Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis".

Fourteen Democrats voted for the measure and 18 Republicans voted "no".

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. Democrats and a growing number of Republicans say that Congress can't wait until just before the deadline to find a solution.

Three dead in shooting at New Mexico high school
Aztec High School is in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation , an expansive native American territory. Officials say parents will be reunited with their children at McGee Park in nearby Farmington, New Mexico.

Without the bill, the government would have run out of money at midnight Friday.

The drama over whether the House will pass legislation preventing a weekend partial government shutdown is essentially over. They know they'd still have leverage on subsequent bills needed to keep the government running.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the 150-plus member Republican Study Committee, had been pushing for a spending bill that would provide funding through the end of the year.

The delay underscored the clout that conservatives wield within the House GOP as the party aims to push legislation through the House and Senate this week to keep federal agencies functioning.

Despite having to push back the timing of the bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he was optimistic they'd have enough votes to get legislation through the House.

"If a shutdown happens as the president seemed to be rooting for earlier in his tweet this year, it will fall on his shoulders", he said on the Senate floor Thursday. But lawmakers and President Donald Trump still have longer-range disputes to settle over spending, immigration and other issues before they can declare budget peace. Both sides say they want to provide money for a health insurance program that serves more than 8 million children and for states battered by recent storms. So the House planned to approve legislation Thursday financing federal agencies through December 22. An hour later, the Senate followed suit and passed it on 81-14 vote. Republican leaders in the House have released a short-term continuing resolution bill that would keep the government operating at the current funding levels for the next two weeks while they negotiate a longer-term spending deal.

To jumpstart that negotiating, Trump and congressional leaders agreed to meet Thursday an attempt to reach agreements.

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