Stark retreat for Republicans on spending, Trump's wall

21 December, 2018, 19:12 | Author: Dave Hampton
  • Lawmakers are proceeding with a plan to keep the federal government open through the holidays

And the White House is encouraging the Senate's Republican leader to change the chamber's rules in order to pass a government spending bill that includes billions for Trump's long-sought wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The White House says President Donald Trump is meeting with Republican House members at noon Thursday as the fate of legislation to avoid a government shutdown hangs in the balance.

On Twitter on Wednesday (Thursday NZT), Trump appeared to respond to criticism that he was backing down, insisting that "One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!" He's recently brought back the argument, saying the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, USMCA, gives the United States more of a trade advantage with Mexico and thus enriches the United States more than the wall would cost. But that outcome is not assured and is not the same as his campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, which the country has refused to do.

That, in turn, makes it more likely that parts of the federal government, including nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, will cease operations at midnight Friday.

Only a week ago, Trump said he would be "proud" to shut down the government, which Republicans now control, in the name of border security.

"Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats now have to decide whether it is worth shutting down the government to keep us from securing our border", said Kevin McCarthy, the leader of Republican lawmakers in the House.

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On Dec. 19, Congress began advancing legislation to the remaining federal agencies through February 8, excluding the wall money.

Trump also encouraged McConnell, R-Ky., to change the Senate's rules in order to pass the spending bill, lowering the threshold for ending debate on legislation from 60 votes to 51, as it now stands for judicial appointments. But a House Republican leadership news conference was delayed Thursday morning as lawmakers debated how to proceed, lending even more uncertainty to how the issue would get resolved.

Thursday's House vote was a victory for conservatives, who had predicted wall money could pass - Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer had told the president last week the House wouldn't be able to muster the votes.

Minutes later, he added: "Soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, last week live from the Oval Office, that the Republicans didn't have the votes for Border Security". He also argued that border security is "tight" due to military and law enforcement efforts.

And Schumer, in his own words, says a "Trump shutdown will not convince a single Democrat to support bilking the American taxpayer for an ineffective, unnecessary and exorbitantly expensive wall". Earlier this week he appeared to shelve shutdown threats, with the White House saying he was open to reviewing whatever bill Congress could send him.

The federal government is facing a Friday night deadline to fund the government or the government will partially shut down.

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"In 2014, I helped put together and signed a $25 billion deal to fund a border wall", reads the post from a group called The Right View Of Washington State.

"If we're not going to fight now, when are we going to fight?"

By postponing decisions on spending for the agencies that also includes the departments of Justice, Commerce, Interior and Agriculture, Democrats will be in a somewhat stronger bargaining position next year when they take majority control of the House.

Congress did pass legislation to fund much of the government through the current budget year, until next October 1.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are funded for the year and would continue to operate as usual.

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