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Lawmaker Says GOP Has the Votes to Avert Government Shutdown

08 December 2017
Lawmaker Says GOP Has the Votes to Avert Government Shutdown

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Dec 6) said the federal government could shut down after funding runs out on Friday, casting blame on the Democrats for congressional gridlock on the budget and disagreements on immigration issues.

"I want to avoid a headline that says President Trump's administration just passes the highest spending levels in US history", Meadows told two reporters.

Hinting they might back a short-term measure preventing a shutdown, Schumer said approving such a bill "gives us a little more time to do the things we're talking about now".

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a tweet, responded on Wednesday to Trump's claim that a government shutdown "could happen" Saturday, and he blamed it on Democrats' stance on immigration.

The spending bill will now move to the Senate, where lawmakers said it could be passed as early as Thursday evening, and sent to the president's desk for signature.

Democrats have accused Trump of exaggerating the impact of immigration policy on crime and terrorism, and say the president is using the issue to try and keep Muslims out of the United States.

Congressional Republicans said they will negotiate with Democrats on the status of young migrants in the new year, but the issue should not get tied up with consideration of a new spending plan. He said they want "illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime".

This time, the White House smoothed the waters by following up with a more peaceable, written statement.

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. Trump ended safeguards against deportation three months ago, but Democrats are demanding their revival and Trump has expressed openness to restoring them. But in setting up Thursday's meeting, he praised them for choosing to "put their responsibility to the American people above partisanship". It also laid out administration budget goals, saying money for the military including missile defense and security along the border with Mexico "must be prioritized in a long-term funding agreement".

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. But they seem on track for a major win by sending their tax measure to Trump, they hope by Christmas.

Pelosi added that Democrats will not support the two-week funding extension the House is voting on Thursday because she said it does not fund priorities such as fighting the opioid epidemic, veterans funding, or the Children's Health Insurance Program, which was not reauthorized by Congress in September.

That widely popular program helps provide medical care to more than 8 million children.

Democrats have the ability to demand changes in the spending bills because Republicans do not have enough Senate votes to block a Democratic filibuster in that chamber. They know they'd still have leverage on subsequent bills needed to keep the government running.

Republicans generally favor more money for defense programs, while Democrats often demand equal increases for domestic social programs.