House Passes Two-Week Stopgap Bill to Keep Government Funded

Trump says government shutdown possible

The prognosis to avert a government shutdown looks promising for now, as House Republicans prepare to put a short-term spending bill on the floor Thursday to keep the federal government running for another two weeks. Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, are calculating that voters' wrath would rain down on Republicans if the government lights go out.

"The reality is that we're running into a deadline this week, and this resolution is our best and only option at this time", said Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican of New Jersey and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Democrats have a rare chance to win major concessions in a US Congress they do not control by taking advantage of a battle within the Republican Party over keeping the government open.

Pelosi has echoed the sentiment, and said last week "we want to keep government open". For Trump, the complex, and very public, battle over the shutdown will also be a demonstration of his ability to deliver on a central 2016 campaign promise of adding billions of dollars to the U.S. military budget.

President Donald Trump and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are sounding an optimistic tone as they sit down at the White House. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi staked out a hard line on Thursday and insisted that any year-end deal would include help for immigrants brought to the US illegally as children.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump and the so-called "Big Four" congressional leaders-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met at the White House to discuss a strategy to avoid a government shutdown after the stopgap expires.

The White House says the leaders were taken to the Situation Room for a briefing by Mattis on military matters. But they will need some Democratic support to get the temporary spending bill past Senate procedural hurdles that require 60 votes, since there are only 52 Republicans in the 100-member chamber. "I'm confident we'll walk out of this with it".

Congressional leaders hope to use the two weeks afforded by the stopgap spending bill to work out an overall deal and attach it to another short-term spending bill that would be needed by December 22 to continue federal spending into January. Jeff Flake of Arizona, as "this wonderful group of Republican senators". Conservatives had threatened to oppose the legislation. They want voters riveted on the party's almost $1.5 trillion tax bill, the paramount priority for them and Trump.

Trump's warning about a shutdown came as conservative House members pushed for increases in military spending along with either a freeze or reduction in domestic programs.

Despite Trump's rhetoric, some lawmakers are downplaying the possibility of a government shutdown. 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.

The US government shut down for the first time in 17 years on October 1 after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal by the end of the fiscal year.

President Trump tried to emphasize bipartisan unity, appearing with the leaders and Vice President Pence in the Oval Office before they began talks on Thursday afternoon.

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