Politics: Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms - PressFrom - US

PoliticsSenators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms

13:16  16 september  2019
13:16  16 september  2019 Source:   thehill.com

With Shutdown Deadline Approaching, Congress Has Lots of Budget Work to Do

With Shutdown Deadline Approaching, Congress Has Lots of Budget Work to Do The Senate’s sprint to the end of September will start next week. When lawmakers return from their recess, they’ll have a long to-do list, and relatively little time to deal with some key items — including avoiding another government shutdown. On the fiscal front, the Senate Appropriations Committee reportedly hopes to mark up all 12 of the required annual spending bills this month. Senate appropriators are set to vote Thursday on four of the 12 bills, according to a schedule released by Senator Richard Shelby, the committee chair.

WASHINGTON — Moving to head off a looming government shutdown , the Senate passed a By declaring he would “own a shutdown ” in a contentious televised Oval Office meeting last week, Mr “Time to get it done,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington and a sponsor of a bill

Republican leaders had spent Wednesday pressuring Democrats to vote for the spending bill , arguing that “I think the Democrats would like to see a shutdown in order to get off that subject,” Mr. Trump told “I don’t want to play shutdown politics,” said Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of

Senate government funding talks are off to a rough start with 10 working days to go until the shutdown deadline.

Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms© Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., right, Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The impasse is throwing into question if senators will be able to get any of the fiscal year 2020 bills through the chamber this month, a setback for Republicans who wanted to clear a major package before October.

Lawmakers renew fights over Trump's border wall, abortion

Lawmakers renew fights over Trump's border wall, abortion Lawmakers clashed on Tuesday over funding for President Donald Trump's border wall and women's reproductive health programs, flashpoints that could threaten funding to keep the federal government operating beyond this month. © Reuters/JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., as pictured from Ascension Last December, Trump's insistence on money to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to deter Central American immigrants, stymied passage of a wide-ranging government funding bill.

But the odd lull with a shutdown looming was disturbing to some senators . Some of the lawmakers who have helped negotiate the current spending bills have voiced frustration that their work — the first time in years that the two chambers had passed a number of spending bills in regular order — may

Senator Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on immigration legislation if a bipartisan group of senators 19, when the current stopgap spending bill expires. If negotiations break down , the “This idea that we’ve got to increase domestic spending dollar for dollar, it has no basis in reality

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said he still wants to bring bills to the Senate floor for a vote but warned that lawmakers need to "negotiate the terrain."

"We've been down that road before," he said, asked how the funding talks get unstuck. "There's got to be a resolution to it-it could be sooner. It could be later."

The partisan breakdown has left lawmakers visibly flummoxed about how to resolve the impasse.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) described the negotiations as "pretty fragile."

"If they break down we're looking at potentially a long-term CR," he said, referring to a continuing resolution.

House to vote on measure keeping government open until Nov. 21

House to vote on measure keeping government open until Nov. 21 The House is expected to vote next week on legislation to avert a shutdown at month's end and fund the government into late November. The stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, is expected to last until Nov. 21, according to a Democratic aide. Current funding for the federal government will expire on Sept. 30, meaning Congress will need to take action by then to avoid another shutdown. The text of the stopgap bill has not yet been released ahead of an expected floor vote next week.

Congress grapples with yet another round of brinkmanship over keeping the government open, with Daca remaining a point of division.

According to the , the bill would extend existing spending levels through Feb. 16 and include an extension of a popular children’s health insurance At this rate, a shutdown is looking increasingly likely, unless a deal comes together within the next few hours. The final legislation would still need to

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, warned against getting "bogged down in too many foxholes" and disclosed that he'd turned to a higher power to help resolve the fight.

"I'm praying for Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member [Patrick] Leahy that the curtains will part here and we'll figure a way to move forward," said McConnell, who is also a member of the Appropriations Committee.

But a quick resolution is nowhere in sight with senators at a stalemate over major provisions, including the top-line spending figures for each of the bills, known as 302b's.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the top-line figures, a mammoth fiscal year 2020 defense bill and an energy and water funding bill on Thursday - marking the first bills cleared by the panel despite having less than two weeks until the end of the fiscal year.

But neither the 302b's or the defense bill currently have the votes to pass the Senate, where they would need the support of at least seven Democrats if every Republican voted for them.

Trump urges General Motors to reach deal with union as strike looms

Trump urges General Motors to reach deal with union as strike looms President Trump on Sunday urged General Motors (GM) and the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union to reach a deal as a worker strike looms. © Getty Images Trump urges General Motors to reach deal with union as strike looms "Here we go again with General Motors and the United Auto Workers," he tweeted. "Get together and make a deal!" Here we go again with General Motors and the United Auto Workers. Get together and make a deal!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019 UAW members voted Sunday morning to strike after contract negotiations broke down.

WASHINGTON — Much of the federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, showing remarkable solidarity in the face of a clear political danger, blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.

The House passed a one-month spending bill , but it faces enough opposition to be derailed in the Senate At least two Republican senators also opposed the bill . We want to get something done.” If a deal doesn’t emerge by 12:01 a.m. EST Saturday, the government would partially shut down .

Democrats are taking issue with the top-line figures, which break down how much money each bill will get, because they believe Republicans are padding extra money toward the Homeland Security bill. And they balked at supporting the Pentagon spending bill after Republicans rejected an amendment that would have prevented Trump from shifting money in the bill toward the border wall without congressional sign off.

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) - the Senate minority whip and top Democrat on the appropriations defense subcommittee - warned that the spending bill for the Pentagon is stuck until they resolve the fight over top-line spending figures.

"It doesn't go anywhere until we get an agreement on the 302 b allocations. ...We need to have the roadmap to take us all the way home," he said.

Republicans could bring them to the floor anyways just to have Democrats vote down the bills in what would amount to a messaging fight. Democrats previously blocked the defense spending bill in 2016 as part of an effort to force a budget deal; McConnell, who is currently up for reelection, used the votes to paint Democrats as undermining national security.

Senate Democrats block government spending bill

Senate Democrats block government spending bill Senate spending talks hit another roadblock on Wednesday amid an entrenched fight over funding for President Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall.Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a bill to fund most of the federal government, marking the latest setback for spending talks with days to go until the Sept. 30 deadline to avoid a shutdown.Senators voted 51-44 on taking up a House-passed bill that was expected to be the vehicle for any Senate funding action, depriving it of the 60 votes needed to overcome the initial hurdle.

The U.S. government shut down at midnight on Friday after Democrats and Republicans, locked in a bitter dispute over immigration and border security, failed to agree on a last-minute deal to fund its In a late-night session, senators blocked a bill to extend government funding through Feb.

WASHINGTON — With the federal government on the brink of a default, a House Republican effort to end the shutdown and extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority collapsed Tuesday night as a major credit agency warned that the United States was on the verge of a costly ratings downgrade.

Spokesmen for McConnell didn't respond to a request for comment about whether the GOP leader would bring up the defense bill. But they are expected to announce guidance for floor consideration of the spending bills this week, suggesting the GOP leader does still intend to bring some legislation to the floor.

Democrats are making it clear they won't provide Republicans with the votes unless they sit down and renegotiate the spending legislation.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he thought Republicans "pulled the rug out from under us."

"They've got to realize the mistake they made. They've made a tactical error, and it won't be the first time that a majority party has had to correct itself," he said.

Asked if any spending bills could pass on the floor, he added, "absolutely not."

"You had every member of the Democratic caucus voting no" in committee, he said. "I think we've got to renegotiate the allocations, and if we negotiate the allocations we can move forward."

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) characterized efforts to fund the government as being at a "crossroads."

"No one wants to resort to a continuing resolution or, God forbid, another Republican, President Trump inspired, government shutdown. But it takes two to tango. My Republican colleagues must know that what happens in the next few days and weeks will determine whether we can proceed with a bipartisan appropriations process this fall or not," he said from the Senate floor late last week.

House reaches deal on continuing resolution, vote expected Thursday

House reaches deal on continuing resolution, vote expected Thursday The House is expected to file a Continuing Resolution Wednesday evening to prevent a government shutdown until November 21, The Hill has learned. A vote on the House floor is expected Thursday. House Democrats unexpectedly pulled the bill from rules consideration on Tuesday night over disagreements with Republicans over several issues, including how the extension dealt with health care and aid to farmers affected by the trade war with China. Negotiations continued Wednesday with Senate Republicans in hopes of striking a deal before the House vote, which would allow the Senate to take up the bill as is.

WASHINGTON — With government funding set to expire on Thursday, Congress careened toward another standoff on Monday as House Republicans moved ahead with a temporary spending measure that Senate Democrats have promised to block.

Congress passed a stopgap spending bill Thursday, averting a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday but pushing "For some reason, that justifies applause. I don't get it. Advocates of increased military spending fumed after House GOP leaders abandoned a plan to attach a defense

The path forward doesn't get easier for lawmakers.

With the full year funding bills stuck in limbo, Congress will need to pass a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, by the end of the month. The House is expected to vote on a bill this week that would fund the government until Nov. 21.

And behemoth funding fights are still awaiting senators, who have already punted both the Health and Human Services, Labor and Education bill and funding for the State Department over concerns that Democrats would try to insert abortion-related language into the bills.

The Senate Appropriations Committee still has to take up a funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction. The bill will be controversial because Republicans are expected to include money to replace the $3.6 billion in military construction funding that Trump redirected to the border wall.

And funding for the Department of Homeland Security is considered so controversial that Republican senators say the aren't sure that they will even bring the bill up.

Shelby characterized the spending talks as in "round one." But asked if he could move DHS in his committee, Shelby demurred.

"That's challenging," he said, before throwing his arms up as he got in an elevator. "Sooner or later we're going to have to do something."

Read More

Senate Republicans back Trump on $5B border wall funding request .
Senate Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a spending bill allocating the money.

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