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Government Shutdown: Who Would Be to Blame?

18 January 2018

With just two days before the U.S. government runs out of money, and President Donald Trump feuding with Democrats over immigration, Republican congressional leaders were left scrambling Wednesday to avoid a federal shutdown. Divisions between Republicans and Democrats then deepened amid an uproar over Trump's reported use of the word "shithole" when speaking about African countries last week.

Republican leaders are reportedly considering attaching a long-term reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program to short-term spending measure that would likely keep the government funded until mid-February, gambling that Democrats would not be willing to vote against funding that they have sought for months.

That will put pressure on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., to again muster enough votes from his majority to pass a bill without support from Democrats.

"Mr. President, close this [immigration] deal", Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC said at a Judiciary Committee hearing, adding, "Don't give my number out, but call me" - a reference to an incident in the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in which Trump publicly announced Graham's private telephone number.

No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer said Democrats have not decided whether they will support another continuing resolution and "kick the can down the road one more time".

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"No Democrats are going to vote for it", Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky said Wednesday after a meeting of House Democrats, where Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged opposition.

"He (Trump) is anxious that Democrats' unwillingness to actually put country ahead of their party is what's stalling things from moving forward, whether it's the budget or whether it's a deal on DACA", Sanders said.

House GOP leaders planned to count the bill's supporters on Wednesday before a possible floor vote later this week. From WaPo: "Under intense questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed that the president had used 'tough language" in the meeting Thursday.

A governmentwide spending deal, billions of dollars in help for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and health care financing for 9 million children from low-income families have been on hold for weeks, caught first in a crossfire over taxes and now held up in a standoff on immigration.

"Obviously we know this is going to come down to a few Republican votes and the number of Freedom Caucus members that are undecided could make the difference on whether we pass it or not", Meadows added.

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It was also not clear whether Democrats would support another continuing resolution spending measure - especially if it does not contain the immigration provision.

"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for", said Mr. Trump, calling the proposal "horrible" and "very, very weak". Democrats have said they want a spending bill that protects the Dreamers, mostly Hispanic young adults.

"I think that we're optimistic that we'll get a deal". Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said Wednesday on "The View" that he didn't run for the Senate to shut the government down, although, he added DACA must be addressed this week.

With just four days until a spending deadline, the government could be heading for a shutdown on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency.

The House Freedom Caucus isn't making it easy for Republican leaders to keep the government funded.

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Trump ended DACA late a year ago but gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation extending the initiative created by President Barack Obama. Democrats also want Republicans to match military spending Trump and many GOP lawmakers are seeking with an equal increase in nondefense funding. Democrats argued that the earlier version was just a Republican attack on other services, but they may have trouble hanging a lack of CHIP funding on their opponents after this if they don't take yes for an answer now. If they can not agree, the government would shut down at midnight Friday for the first time since 2013.

Government Shutdown: Who Would Be to Blame?