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GOP Leaves Little Doubt They'll Prevent Government Shutdown
08 December 2017, 01:24 | Rufus Hill
Trump says government shutdown possible
U.S. President Donald Trump will face off with Democratic leaders of Congress on Thursday in a high-stakes White House meeting meant to bridge differences over a spending bill and preventing a government shutdown.
U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will join Trump and Republican congressional leaders for talks after cancelling a similarly planned meeting last week when the president posted a disparaging note about them on Twitter. With 52 Republicans in the chamber, that means they need at least 8 votes from Democrats or the independents who caucus with them.
"We're hopeful that in the next few hours we'll be able to figure out a strategy where we don't have to rely on any Democrats to make this work, and I think that's what we're all about", said Rep. "It's a well-knit together group of people", Trump said.
Republicans generally favor more money for defense programs, while Democrats often demand equal increases for domestic social programs.
Democrats are also seeking an agreement to extend protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the USA illegally as children. Trump ended safeguards against deportation three months ago, but Democrats are demanding their revival and Trump has expressed openness to restoring them.
Trump says of Democrats: "They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country".
Democrats want the fix to be included in legislation to keep the government open past Friday. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
"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".
But they said they had backed off pushing for a longer-term spending bill and were instead focused on setting up a more advantageous fight with Democrats shortly before Christmas. It was unclear how Republicans could prevent Senate Democrats from blocking such a move.
The roughly 30-member caucus has been trying to win promises of tight budget curbs and other concessions from leaders in exchange for backing the short-term bill.
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. Without support from many of them, Republicans would need votes from Democrats to push the temporary spending measure through the House.
Conservative leaders say they are concerned that GOP leaders may use the hoopla surrounding a final vote on the tax bill to obscure a separate vote on spending legislation that could include numerous Democratic priorities.
Trump has given Congress until March to resolve the issue, with Democrats wanting to vote now, and Republicans mostly hoping to put off any immigration vote until next year after approving the tax and budget legislation.
In addition to a simple date change CR, this resolution provides for a change in the way that the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) emergency shortfall funds are distributed to states until December 31, 2017, so that no state's CHIP funding is depleted during the month of December.
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