House to vote on government funding bill to avert federal shutdown
(WASHINGTON) -- The House is preparing to vote on a short-term funding measure to keep the government funded until Dec. 22, as congressional leaders prepare to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House to continue budget negotiations.
With the government set to run out of money on midnight Friday, GOP leaders are moving forward with a short-term fix to give negotiations another two weeks to ink a larger long-term spending deal between Democrats, Republicans and the White House.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that Democrats would not vote for the two-week continuing resolution to fund the government. GOP leaders have historically needed bipartisan support to pass spending bills through the House.
Pelosi said Democrats will oppose Thursday’s expected vote because the legislation lacks funding to address opioid addiction, pensions, community health centers, veteran funding, children’s health insurance funding, the Dream Act and emergency disaster relief.
“This is a waste of time,” she said. “There could be some good things that could be advanced and because it doesn't have things in it, doesn't mean that makes it OK.”
Without Democrats, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is counting on his rank-and-file -- including the House Freedom Caucus -- to help keep government’s doors open. Some hardline conservatives signaled concerns about a Dec. 22 deadline but are expected to back the first continuing resolution to avert a shutdown.
In an interview earlier this week, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., a member of the House Appropriations Committee, expressed frustration with the situation, saying it felt like “Groundhog Day,” given Congress’ repeated reliance on continuing resolutions to temporarily fund the government at current levels.
Ryan says he “feels good” about the GOP’s chances avert a government shutdown, but wiggled out of a guarantee as he punted to Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who is tasked with counting votes.
“I feel good where we are,” Ryan said Thursday of the government funding vote. “I think it's just kind of just basic governing, is keeping government going while we negotiate the final details.”
Ryan said he hoped the White House meeting would reignite bipartisan negotiations on lifting defense and non-defense spending caps but cautioned “it’s going to take time.”
Pelosi said she will push Republicans for “parity” in any changes to the caps but does not believe the meeting will be “confrontational.”
In the Senate, any funding measure will have to clear a 60-vote threshold, meaning that GOP leaders will need at least some Democratic votes to avert a shutdown -- which would be the first under unified Republican control of the government.
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