Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Senate Considers Short Term Government Funding

Drew Thies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated Tuesday that he is confident that lawmakers will pass a spending bill and avoid a partial government shutdown. McConnell said the White House is “flexible” on border security spending after President Donald Trump said last week that he’d be “proud” to shut the government down to secure wall funding.

While Trump did not personally admit to any deal, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the president could accept less than the $5 billion he previously demanded for a wall on the southern border. “When they do something, we’ll make a decision about whether we’re going to sign it,” she said on Fox News.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said Tuesday that lawmakers were likely to pass a bill that would extend funding for a little over a month, into “early February.”

McConnell suggested that the Senate pass the bipartisan Senate homeland security funding bill which includes $1.6 billion for fencing as well as an extra $1 billion that could be used on a wall, though Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer rejected this offer, calling the extra spending a “slush fund.”

Congress has until midnight Friday to avert a partial shutdown. The departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, Treasury, and Justice will all close if Congress fails to pass the seven remaining spending bills or a short term measure.

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