Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

House approves stop-gap government funding bill

House approves stop-gap government funding bill

On Monday, the lower chamber voted to send the bill to committee, which will reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions.

In exchange for their vote on a short-term funding bill, they demanded Republican leadership consider pushing the length of the measure at least through the end of the month. They say "we had a productive conversation on a wide variety of issues".

"We're having problems with the two-week CR vote, but trying to take out going to conference on tax reform, I don't think that's the best route", said Rep. Mark Walker (R., N.C.). "We have some important issues that we share with you", the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, told Trump at the White House, ticking off issues including the opioid crisis, funding for veterans and an expired children's health insurance program.

Some conservatives said they're being strong-armed by leaders.

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 US illegally as children.

The bill, H.J.Res. 123, passed after leaders of both parties agreed to continue negotiating on larger issues and after House Speaker Paul Ryan quelled a rebellion among some conservatives who wanted a longer stopgap bill as part of a strategy to avoid giving concessions to Democrats on spending. Seven Republicans voted against the motion to go to conference, and no Democrats supported it. The Senate is expected to pass the bill, as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said on Thursday morning that they are making progress on budget talks. The bill prevents a shut-down that would be triggered if Congress fails to pass a spending bill before a deadline of midnight Friday.

President Donald Trump and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are sounding an optimistic tone as they sit down at the White House.

The Freedom Caucus on Monday night threatened to block progress on President Donald Trump's tax bill unless the group gets support to extend the spending measure to December 30. "There will be zero support on numbers that are too high, regardless of anybody's position on that". Democrats are demanding that the caps on non-defense and defense spending be raised equally.

Democrats made clear their unhappiness.

But Trump unexpectedly tossed a political hand grenade into the mix when he told reporters that a shutdown "could happen" and blamed Democrats. "They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country, they want to have 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. Trump ended those protections this fall and Democrats are demanding that they be renewed in the year-end rush of business.

The two-week spending bill provides funds to government agencies, from the defense department to the IRS, and makes money available to several states that are running out of funds for the children's health insurance program. That widely popular program provides medical care to more than 8 million children. An hour later, the Senate followed suit and passed it on 81-14 vote. The continuing resolution keeps a status quo level of government spending.

Democrats, meanwhile, have cast the Republican legislation as a giveaway to the rich and said they're rushing to get it done before the public can dissect what's in it.

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