Update (5 pm ET): Despite a laundry list of demands from Democrats and Republicans who appeared ready to cut off government funds, a majority of the House has voted to approve a two-week extension of government spending, a major legislative achievement that will allow Republicans to focus on their top priority: Passing comprehensive tax reform.
The measure to the Senate, which must act on it by Friday. Measures included in the bill would also direct more money to states that are running out of federal funds under the Children’s Health Insurance Program
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In an announcement that brings the federal government to the verge of a weekend shutdown, Nancy Pelosi said Democrats won’t support a Republican bill for a two-week funding extension because almost none of their demands have been met.
Speaker Paul Ryan, appearing at the same podium just minutes after Pelosi left it, said he’s optimistic the Republicans can win the GOP support to pass their CR on Thursday, the Hill reported. “I feel good where we are,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of basic governing.”
According to Bloomberg, the bill is a “waste of time” that doesn’t include funding for combating the opioid crisis, among other priorities like enshrining DACA provisions into law, something Pelosi has said must happen before the end of the year.
Pelosi added that she hopes she and Chuck Schumer, her counterpart in the Senate, can work out a deal suitable to both parties when they meet with President Donald Trump later today.
The House Rules committee last night approved a rule change to allow Republican leaders to bring the bill to a vote Thursday.
The two party leaders wasted no time blaming one another for the precarious situation:
The parties quickly pointed fingers across the aisle to blame the other for the impasse.
“We were concerned when the president started mocking the meeting and saying there’d be no deal,” Pelosi said Thursday. “And we thought, ‘Well, if you’re not ready to talk, then we’re not ready to come.'"
Ryan had a decidedly different take.
“When they walked away from the table, that cost us weeks,” he said.
The decision on a stopgap bill with a Dec. 22 end-date came after Ryan and his leadership team held discussions on overall budget strategy with the leaders of the restive House Freedom Caucus. A formal check of how members would vote came back showing widespread support, said Representative Dennis Ross, a member of the vote-whipping team.
As we pointed out yesterday, the continuing resolution that's been funding the government for the last two months, and yet many battles over a host of intractable issues are still being fought. At this point, passing something by midnight Friday – when the continuing resolution expires -is looking increasingly problematic.
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, GOP lawmakers are also divided over when to tackle the Dreamers issue.
President Donald Trump in September ended an Obama-era program shielding the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, with the protections beginning to expire in early March, giving Congress six months to pass legislation protecting them.