Congress, White House on the brink of another government shutdown

Workers in El Paso Texas in the US replace a section of the Mexico-US border fence next to the international border bridge 'Paso del Norte' as seen from Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua state Mexico

House lawmakers filed a two-week stopgap spending bill Monday that would ensure that the government remains fully funded as the nation mourns former President George Bush this week.

House leaders canceled roll call votes this week for ceremonies honoring Bush, who died Friday, meaning an extension will be needed to avert a funding lapse.

Further, other conservatives and their staffers on Capitol Hill caution that such a close deadline to the Christmas holiday season may make securing Trump's $5 billion in border wall funding more hard as many rank-and-file members will feel more pressure to accept Republican leadership's proposal closer to Christmas.

The Post reported that one person close to the funeral planning said the Bush family's decision to be amicable toward the current president was "at least partly pragmatic" because Trump has the final say over important aspects of the funeral, including the use of Air Force One to carry Bush's body between Texas to Washington.

Trump had been expected to meet Tuesday with the two top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY - to discuss how to resolve the remaining sticking points on appropriations, according to sources familiar with the talks.

There was a fear that President Donald Trump might shut down the government because he hasn't received the requested funding for his US-Mexico border wall.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) predicted that Congress will avoid a government shutdown, even though President Trump has continued to threaten a government shutdown over wall funding.

Democrats have little interest in providing the $5 billion Trump wants for the border with Mexico.

While Democrats prefer a one-week extension, they likely would not object to a two-week delay, a Democratic aide said Monday.

However, Trump's border wall plans are facing extreme opposition, with Cards Against Humanity joining Democrats, environmentalists and immigrant advocates in the fight to prevent the United States president from building a wall.

The country shouldn't have to endure a shutdown over "Trump's temper tantrum", Schumer said last week.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said Monday that the new funding deadline has "raised the stakes" for negotiators working on the seven remaining spending bills.

The president also said that Melania Trump will be giving former first lady Laura Bush a tour of the White House Christmas decorations Tuesday.

Without action by Congress, federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Department of Homeland Security would find themselves without any money to pay employees and administer programs through the fiscal year that ends next September 30. Federal funding for those is set to expire at midnight on Friday.



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