With a shutdown days away, Congress looks to regroup

GOP Lacking Votes to Keep Government Open

With a potential USA government shutdown looming, Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday drew sharp battle lines on partisan priorities from immigration to defense spending that could scuttle an extension of federal funding. The New York Times reports that the bill may struggle to pass the House, because "Republicans eager to increase military spending have been frustrated with stopgap spending measures".

Democrats' votes are needed to advance the stopgap measure through the Senate, but they have been rebuffed in their demands to add protections against deportation for younger immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.

Democratic strategists involved in 2018 races acknowledged the complicated politics of immigration but noted that protections for Dreamers are politically popular across the board and said Republicans - who control all levers of government power - would be blamed for a shutdown.

But Democrats, under the plan being developed in the House, would win an unrelated high-priority item: a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to lawmakers.

Some conservatives oppose the short-term spending bill and said GOP leaders lacked the votes to pass it. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declined to say if he had enough Republican support to push it through the House this week.

House Republican leadership put on the table a short-term government funding bill Tuesday night ahead of an end-of-the week deadline to keep the government open. The medical device tax and the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health care plans would be delayed for two years, starting in 2018.

Trump in September announced he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects the Dreamers, which was begun by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, effective in March.

"It's awful for the security of our country", Trump said, noting there was not enough funding for the wall he has promised to build on the US-Mexican border, a project opposed by Democrats. Democrats have said they want a spending bill that protects the Dreamers, mostly Hispanic young adults.

Trump said he thinks a deal on immigration is still possible. President Trump may believe himself a master showman and salesman who can manipulate the American people, but a shutdown could turn those people against him in a short period of time. Several Senate Democrats, like Sen. Until then, it has been communicated, sources tell CNN, that weighing in with a definitive yes-or-no answer on how they'd vote on a government funding bill isn't helpful or productive.

Doctor President Trump's Health'Excellent' Performed'Exceedingly Well on Cognitive Test
White House Doctor Trump's Health'Excellent

Yet in these final days before a spending deadline, immigration reform advocates who have been working on this issue for years concede Republicans could succeed in driving a wedge.

Regarding the threat of a government shutdown, Arthur says Democratic government workers want to get paid. They want more time to reach a deal. And some of these senators facing reelection are running in states that Trump won in the 2016 election and fear being voted out of office by his supporters if they do not cooperate with Republicans.

"But I don't think it's really going to happen", Inhofe told reporters.

Aides to key negotiators from both parties planned to meet Tuesday in an effort to rekindle budget talks, setting up a Wednesday meeting of the leaders themselves.

"I just don't - I don't - that's - I don't - that's not a word that I remember being used". The bill doesn't deal with DACA, and its anti-Obamacare provisions seem likely to both unify rank-and-file Republicans behind it, while further tempting Democrats to vote "no". Art Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies agrees with the president.

According to Meadows, they are "making good progress", but asserted leadership is now short in the votes to pass the measure without the Freedom Caucus' support.

"Most Democrats that are in red states don't have large Latino populations, so that worries me", said Rocha. But if not, Ryan may have fatally miscalculated what it will take to buy off these hard people and confront the Senate with a united House Republican caucus. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters.

The six lawmakers are expected to introduce their legislation on Wednesday, but Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said it would not receive a vote in either the House or the Senate.

That said, don't underestimate the base pressure, don't underestimate the pressure inside the Democratic caucus, to have this fight and have it now.

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