House passes stopgap spending bill, Senate fate uncertain

20 January 2018, 05:10 | Santos Harmon

EVAN VUCCI AP US President Donald Trump is calling the government shutdown"a gift from the Democrats

US President Donald Trump is calling the government shutdown

White House officials have been coy when asked if Trump is working the phones trying to convince Republicans to hold the line and enough Democrats to join them when the Senate votes with a 60-vote threshold to stop debate on the continuing resolution then a simple-majority vote on whether to send it to Trump's desk.

They are Maggie Hassan, N.H., Martin Heinrich, N.M., Tim Kaine, Va., Angus King, I-Maine, Patrick Leahy, Vt., Jeanne Shaheen, N.H., Jon Tester, Mont., Tom Udall, N.M., and Mark Warner, Va.

And Jeff Flake, of Arizona, said on Thursday night he was not "inclined" to vote for the short-term bill.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure.

But Mulvaney and Short deflected questions about whether Trump and Republicans should share some of the blame if the government shuts down, given Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress. "That is a very basic and fundamental duty".

There was a 27-day shutdown from December 1995 to January 1996, resulting from a clash between Republicans and Democrats over funding a health insurance programme for the elderly. Among them: a feeling that Trump's stunning comment in a private meeting last week calling for less immigration from "shithole" countries in Africa has put the onus on Republicans to show sympathy for the "Dreamers" — the roughly 700,000 young people brought to the US illegally as children.

Trump tweeted that Senate Democrats "want illegal immigration and weak borders".

"Republicans and President Trump have failed in their most basic responsibility as the governing party, " said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who is among the Democrats up for re-election in November, said he couldn't stomach another short-term bill and blamed GOP leaders for having intentionally "played politics and kicked the can down the road". "It doesn't really involve government funding", he told Fox News Channel.

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Trump says on Twitter Friday: "Government Funding Bill past (sic) last night in the House of Representatives".

In response, Markey said it would be no way to run the government if they didn't deal with immigration now.

"We do not support perpetuating the current budgetary dysfunction that is hurting our country and our Commonwealth", Kaine and Warner said in a joint statement. "Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two year budget caps deal". About a third, 31%, say they would hold the Democrats in Congress responsible, and another 10% say they'd blame all three groups. That's the focus right now - tag the other side for everything reaching this point - as no solution to avert a government shutdown appears within sight.

While reluctant to pass yet another short-term continuing resolution - the fourth in just months - many rank-and-file members seemed mostly resigned Wednesday to the fact that it was the only option, even if they were not happy about it.

"We've done our job", House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Politico's John Bresnahan. The shutdown lasted 16 days. He took a sharp rightward turn on immigration last week, demanding that a short-term spending bill include a provision to cut legal immigration levels in half and crudely asking in an Oval Office meeting why America would want any immigrants from the African continent or Haiti.

The final vote was 230-197, with six Democrats voting for the measure and 11 Republicans voting against it.

The Republican-controlled Senate's bid to avert a United States government shutdown is teetering on the brink of collapse as it races against a midnight deadline. Mr. Trump, however, wants to trade such legislation for funding of his promised wall on the US border with Mexico. "Shutdown coming?" he said.

"I talked to (Chief of Staff) Gen. Kelly and he was telling me about the meeting at the White House and he said there were were no agreements with Sen". Trump tweeted this morning. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC threatened to vote against a short-term spending bill, as did Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Trump further complicated budget negotiations on Thursday with a series of tweets that suggested he opposed the House stopgap bill. "This has turned into an s-show for no good reason". "[Republicans] point at each other and nothing gets done".

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