Government Funding Lapses While Congress Looks To Vote On Budget Deal

Government Funding Lapses While Congress Looks To Vote On Budget Deal

The Capitol Dome of the Capitol Building at sunrise, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Washington.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget "is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations", an OMB official said on condition of anonymity, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to President Donald Trump's desk "without delay".

The Senate is likely to vote to reopen the government in the wee hours Friday.

While the GOP controls all three branches of government, it still must depend on Democratic votes to overcome a Senate filibuster, and they wouldn't agree to spend more on the military without boosting domestic programs as well.

Pelosi launched marathon speech for more than eight hours on Wednesday, calling out House Speaker Paul Ryan for not bringing a bill to the floor that would address the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for unauthorized immigrants.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reported progress in their talks and expressed optimism they would reach a deal to keep government agencies open and on a broader budget deal that lifts the caps on amounts that could be spent on both defense and nondefense programs.

"We're hopeful that we'll go ahead and attach those numbers to this, fund the military, not hold it hostage and allow it to come back and have a fairly easy bipartisan vote here in the House", Mark Meadows, the Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said.

But the deficit spending in the bill will add more red ink to Washington's balance sheet and further underscore a shift in Republican thinking that Mr Paul was trying to draw attention to.

He said he hoped his stand would teach conservatives "to not accept just anything because it comes from a GOP Congress".

No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of IL, his party's chief immigration negotiator, bristled at the comment.

Beyond $300bn (€244bn) of record increases for the military and domestic programs, the agreement adds $89bn (€72bn) in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government's borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions. The two-year pact, which also continues the government's authority to borrow money, postpones any possible federal default or likely shutdowns until after the November elections.

Unified Korean ice hockey team roll over for Swiss
US Vice President Mike Pence has urged South Korean President Moon Jae-in to be wary of North Korea's "charm offensive". The game came just 24 hours after an extraordinary opening ceremony filled with signs of unity between the two rivals.

Once he stepped aside, the Senate passed the deal 71 to 28.

That was a turnaround from Tuesday, when Trump had said he would "love" a shutdown if he did not get his way on immigration.

At a late afternoon meeting, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California made it plain she was not pressuring fellow Democrats to kill the bill, which is packed with money for party priorities such as infrastructure, combating opioid abuse and helping college students. He called that decision plus opposition by many Republicans "inhumane and indecent".

While the United States government's authority to spend some money would expire at midnight, there were not likely to be many clear immediate effects. The Democrats also want to make the immigrants eligible for citizenship or permanent residence. He also wants reductions in legal immigration, including limiting the relatives whom legal residents can sponsor and eliminating a lottery that offers visas to residents of diverse countries. Republicans have pushed for defence increases in the neighbourhood of $80 billion a year and have offered Democrats almost as much - $60 billion or so per year - for nondefense programs.

Trump tweeted Friday morning that he had signed the bill, writing that the USA military "will now be stronger than ever before".

The House has approved a shortened measure funding the government crossing the deadline of Thursday and averted another partial shutdown in just a few weeks, because the negotiation continued for the two-year deal.

Whatever happens, this week's budget battle dealt a clear immigration defeat to Democrats, who'd initially vowed to block spending bills until there was a deal to help the Dreamers.

"Unlike in the Senate, there is no agreement that the House will even consider legislation to protect DREAMers", Hoyer wrote in response to a member's question of how to vote on the budget plan.

Lawmakers intend to combine the two-year spending deal with a short-term measure to keep the government operating when current funding runs out at the end of the day Thursday.

Senate leaders are working to approve the measure Thursday and send it to the House for passage before the government begins to shut down at midnight.

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