Offbeat: Government shutdown threat looms over Capitol Hill's Christmas season - PressFrom - US

OffbeatGovernment shutdown threat looms over Capitol Hill's Christmas season

03:20  07 december  2018
03:20  07 december  2018 Source:

Trump, GOP leaders meet on border wall as shutdown looms

Trump, GOP leaders meet on border wall as shutdown looms With a partial government shutdown looming in just 10 days, President Donald Trump is meeting with Republican leaders to hash out a spending plan that includes funding for Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. Trump is seeking $5 billion for the wall. He has said it could be a "good time" for a shutdown if he doesn't receive the funding he wants for the wall, a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign. House Republicans approved $5 billion for the wall in a key committee, but a bipartisan bill in the Senate allocates just $1.6 billion for the border.

COMING UP:Share Opener Variant 3. Playlist. New shutdown deadline looms over Capitol Hill . 2:13 National. >> Just two weeks after a three day government shutdown , lawmakers in Washington this week face another urgent deadline to keep the lights on.

WATCH Trump threatens government shutdown over border security. The federal government is set to run out of money at the end of the day on September 30, and over the weekend, Trump renewed his threat to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his desired money for border security.

Government shutdown threat looms over Capitol Hill's Christmas season© Getty The US Capitol Christmas Tree, a Noble Fir from Oregon, is seen following a lighting ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 6, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) You'll forgive lawmakers, Capitol Hill aides and Congressional journalists for lacking tidings of comfort and joy.

They're all too familiar with various phantasms depicting Christmas past, Christmas present and, yes, Christmas future on Capitol Hill.

Although it's been said many times, many ways, December can be pretty wretched in Congress.

Congress agrees to put off government shutdown deadline to Dec. 21

Congress agrees to put off government shutdown deadline to Dec. 21 But lawmakers are no closer to resolving their differences over billions in funding for Trump’s border wall. Trump wants $5 billion; Democrats in the Senate have agreed to only $1.6 billion for border barriers and security, and do not want to provide more. Trump long claimed Mexico would pay for the wall, but instead the bill would be paid by U.S. taxpayers as part of funding for the Homeland Security Department. Under the new budget deadline, funding for the Homeland Security Department and a number of other federal agencies will xpire on Dec.

Fights over money to pay for a border wall -- as well as Obamacare subsidies and an infusion of resources for the military -- are threatening to trip up congressional talks over a funding bill to head off a Border wall fight looms as White House, Capitol Hill scramble for deal to avert shutdown .

A heated debate is expected on Capitol Hill this week as the threat of a government shutdown looms over Washington. Americans will be keeping a close eye on negotiations from Capitol Hill , wondering if their elected representatives will be able to put aside partisan politics and pass a new

Andy Williams pretty much nailed it when he sang about "scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago."

Sprints to renew tax breaks before the calendar flips to January. A Christmas Eve day vote on ObamaCare. Efforts to avert government shutdowns. Brawls over hurricane relief. A scrap over the "payroll tax" in 2011. The "fiscal cliff" of 2012 and 2013 was epic. Lawmakers fought up until Christmas, took a break and came a-wassailing back to Washington to battle through New Year's Day. Vice President Joe Biden rushed to the Capitol to negotiate on New Year’s Eve 2012 at around 8:30 pm and the Senate began voting at around 2 in the morning on Jan. 1, 2013.

December crises emerge with such regularity that the ox and lamb could almost keep time to the likelihood of Congressional combat this time of year.

Shutdown Looms and Priorities Stack Up as Congress Races Toward Session’s End

Shutdown Looms and Priorities Stack Up as Congress Races Toward Session’s End The largest impasse in a must-pass spending package is funding for President Trump’s wall, but lawmakers are looking at rolling in an array of other legislation.

The fight over immigration also looms large over the potential shutdown showdown. Democrats are under fierce pressure by liberal activists — and many of their own members — to oppose any government funding stopgap until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is salvaged.

CAPITOL HILL -- The countdown to a possible shutdown of the government is on. The shutdown could happen unless Democrats and Republicans can reach an agreement on spending ahead of the Friday deadline. Lawmakers warmed up for the shutdown blame game on Thursday as high-level

If you blinked Thursday afternoon, you would have missed the House and Senate approving a stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown this weekend. The new deadline is 11:59:59 pm on Dec. 21.

This is the second interim spending bill, known as a "CR" for "Continuing Resolution," this fiscal year.

On the second day of Christmas, someone's true love bequeathed them two turtle doves. In Congress, it's unclear what you get for the second CR in a fiscal year. And if there is a government shutdown, it’s certain that the ten lords a-leaping will be among those furloughed.

Here's where we stand:

Congress and President Trump forged an agreement in September on five of the 12 annual appropriations bills. That left seven appropriations bills unfinished. The most significant was the Homeland Security Appropriations measure, which would potentially cover money for the border wall.

Trump, top Democrats to discuss border security funding as government shutdown looms

Trump, top Democrats to discuss border security funding as government shutdown looms Congress and the White House have less than two weeks to reach a spending agreement on border security or risk another partial government shutdown.

And looming over all of this is yet another potential crisis: On December 8, the federal government will run out of money unless Congress acts fast. Harkins suspects one side will eventually back down , because “you don’t cut off paychecks to millions” of federal employees “just before Christmas .”

A pro-immigration rally on Capitol Hill last month. Nearly 200 protesters were arrested while demanding that Democrats insist on the passage of the Dream Act, even at the risk of shutting down the government . A pro-immigration rally on Capitol Hill last month. Shortly before Christmas , the

Democrats think President Trump's insistence on a border wall is as preposterous as Gayla Peevey demanding a hippopotamus for Christmas. Most Congressional Republicans and the President are dug in on this issue. This could be the last chance GOPers have to fund the wall, since Democrats take control of the House in January. So for now, Republicans are channeling the mantra that they "won't go until we get some."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., says it would be "foolish to shut down the government" and "stupid not to find a solution" to this standoff. But Kennedy knows exactly where Trump stands.

"I don't think [the President's] kidding. I think he's prepared to shut the government down," opined Kennedy.

"If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that's his decision," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday.

Any package to fund the government requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. Republicans currently control 51 seats. That's why they need the support of at least nine Democrats. It's generally thought that Senate Democrats may be willing to cave on some funding for the wall. But it’s a different story in the House.

Trump is relishing the prospect of owning a government shutdown. But Republicans aren't.

Trump is relishing the prospect of owning a government shutdown. But Republicans aren't. ANALYSIS: Some Republicans worry that the president's tactics to get his border wall built could hurt the party at the ballot box.

threatened to shut down the federal government over funding for a U. S .-Mexico border wall as well as targeted opponents in Congress, aggravating tensions as a difficult legislative agenda looms . The shutdown threat is a response to the leverage granted to the minority party in the Senate.

Congress, once again, finds itself days away from a potential government shutdown , and a fight over immigration could stand in the way of a deal to prevent it. The House is set to vote Thursday on a two-week extension, pushing the threat of a shutdown off to just before Christmas .

Few if any House Democrats would vote for any plan to fund the government if it includes wall money. That means House Republicans, in the majority for the moment, could be called upon to advance a spending bill to run the government, and presumably fund the wall, by themselves.

"We've got to secure our border,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the future chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-highest position in the House GOP hierarchy. "The fact that we have Democrats refusing to allocate resources to do that, well, the American people won't be happy."

But the problem with border wall funding may not lie with Democrats but Republicans. Multiple House GOP sources told Fox News that Republicans lack the votes to pass any spending bill on their own with or without wall funding. The math doesn't work on the GOP side of the aisle. Over the summer, the House twice rejected bills to fully fund the wall.

Here's the other problem. Fox News is told there are a number of defeated or retiring House Republicans who don't intend to come back to Washington so close to Christmas. In some ways, a vote just before the Dec. 21 deadline could actually help avert another shutdown if attendance dwindles. The outcome may hinge on who shows up.

Also, some conservatives privately concede they'd like a shutdown to hamstring Democrats as they assume control of the House in January.

What to expect if there's a partial government shutdown

What to expect if there's a partial government shutdown If a shutdown takes place, it would be limited in scope. But that doesn't mean a partial shutdown just days before Christmas wouldn't be disruptive. There are still seven spending bills that need to be passed and funding is set to expire on December 21 for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other parts of the government. In the event of a shutdown, some federal employees would be deemed essential and would continue to work, but their pay would be withheld until the shutdown is over.

White House and Capitol Hill aides had been left scrambling earlier in the day after Trump criticized the six-month spending bill, despite prior assurances from the administration that he would sign it ahead of a looming midnight It was unclear how seriously Republican leaders took Trump’ s shutdown threat .

Once again, the hours are counting down to a government shutdown . For close to a decade, the federal government has functioned more or less continuously under such a threat . The possibility of a shutdown looms because our divided Congress can’t pass an annual budget on time or even at all.

"If I were the president, I would stick with it," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., about the push for wall money. "I've always thought more wall funding is necessary. And we've got to do something with the DACA recipients. Maybe if you marry those two up [Trump] could end the year on a high note."


When asked if she would accept some wall funding in exchange for a DACA deal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., replied with an emphatic "no." Pelosi contends that the border wall and a DACA fix are "two different subjects" and advocates approving individual versions of six of the spending bills and then okaying a CR until Sept. 30, 2019 (the end of the fiscal year) for the Department of Homeland Security.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., took a dim view of Pelosi's proposal.

"I believe the best route is to keep the seven (appropriations bills) together," said Shelby.

This exercise also poses a challenge for the House Republican leadership. Some conservatives are sure to be apoplectic if the GOP brass accepts anything short of full wall funding. That grants those conservatives the chance to drive a wedge between Republicans as to who is fighting the hardest for the wall and serving as a rearguard for Trump. Some Republicans may even relish a fight with their leaders over the wall.


What's remarkable at this stage of the appropriations process is the lack of information. No one is even sure who is driving the sleigh. Is it outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.? House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., – who is about to become House Minority Leader McCarthy? Prospective House Speaker Pelosi? (Just a reminder. she doesn't quite have the required number of votes to become Speaker in January nailed down yet.) Retiring House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.?

So prepare yourself for Christmas at the Capitol.

And if there's a government shutdown on Dec. 22, that's the nightmare before Christmas.

Trump finds himself isolated in shutdown fight.
President Trump is finding himself increasingly isolated less than a week ahead of a potential government shutdown, as even members of his own party admit that he has backed himself into a corner with his demands for $5 billion in funding for a wall on the Mexican border. 

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