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Politics White House warns against including wall restrictions in stopgap bill

22:10  05 november  2019
22:10  05 november  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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The White House is open to another stopgap spending bill, according to a top aide, but it is also warning Democrats against including any border wall restrictions in the short-term bill needed to avoid a government shutdown.

a building with a mountain in the background: White House warns against including wall restrictions in stopgap bill© The Hill White House warns against including wall restrictions in stopgap bill

Office of Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland said Tuesday that the White House is open to another continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government beyond Nov. 21 "as long as it does not restrict [Trump's] authorities or abilities to pursue his policy priorities, including wall construction."

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"We're heartened to have continuing conversations with appropriate parties in Congress on the regular order spending bills, as well as a continuing resolution," Ueland said ahead of a closed-door Senate GOP lunch on Capitol Hill.

To avoid a shutdown on Nov. 22, lawmakers will need to pass either the 12 appropriations bills or another CR to avoid the second shutdown of the year.

The White House had previously asked for the current CR, signed in late September, to lift a restriction included in the fiscal 2019 funding bills that requires any border barrier money in that measure to be limited to the Rio Grande Valley sector.

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Congress rejected the White House request to lift those restrictions in the current CR, which extends fiscal 2019 spending levels through Nov. 21. Ueland sidestepped a question about whether the White House would need the Rio Grande Valley restriction lifted as part of the next short-term funding measure.

The wall has emerged as a perennial sticking point for lawmakers and the White House. Earlier this year, a record 35-day partial shutdown ended with Trump declaring a national emergency to leapfrog Congress and get more wall funding.

Trump has requested $8.6 billion for the wall in fiscal 2020 - a figure that cannot pass both chambers of Congress.

Both Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) have said another CR will be needed this month to keep the government open.

They have floated a February or March time frame, though both Shelby and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, have indicated they would prefer a CR that doesn't go beyond December.

Ueland said it was up to congressional leadership to pitch the White House on a potential end date.

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