Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

House GOP confident it can avert shutdown; Senate far from sure

House GOP confident it can avert shutdown; Senate far from sure

While House Republicans are coalescing behind a short-term government funding bill to avert a shutdown on Friday, it's not certain to pass. Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows said late Tuesday that Republicans don't have the votes.

Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team late Tuesday released a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating through February 16, setting up a likely vote in the House Thursday. They added a two-year delay on implementation of unpopular taxes on medical devices and generous employer-subsidized health care plans. Leaders may need to tweak the plan more to win over a handful of conservatives pushing for more military spending. Democrats aren't going to budge.

Democrats want the spending bill to include protects for "Dreamers" - mostly Hispanic young adults brought to the United States illegally when they were children. It was unclear whether the House Republicans would get enough votes to pass the measure in that chamber.

The plan amounts to some election-year brinkmanship by Ryan and the rest of his leadership team that counts on enough Senate Democrats being concerned about how a shutdown would look to voters as their campaigns get under way in a few months. Democrats seeking leverage are forcing that bill to require 60 votes for passage.

Hoyer's remarks echoed those of many Democrats, who said they are unlikely to support any measure without a deal on DACA, which has been thrown into question by the president's vulgar remarks last week about immigrants from African countries.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says control of the Wisconsin Senate is now in play, which has significant implications for 2020 redistricting: "Once she is seated, Republicans will hold an 18-14 advantage, with one district vacant".

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Despite opposition to the short-term spending bill from both Democrats and conservative members of the House, McConnell was confident the proposal will pass and promised to take up the spending bill before the deadline at the end of the week.

"The president certainly doesn't want a shutdown", she said. But he gave little ground on the partisan battle over immigration, an issue many Democrats say must be resolved before they'll vote to keep agencies functioning.

The measure would extend the low-income children's health insurance program for six years while delaying some key Obamacare taxes for two years.

The restive House Freedom Caucus made a bid Tuesday to have a full-year defense spending bill inserted into the stopgap but appeared to be rebuffed.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned that Senate Democrats might not provide those needed votes.

The House's Republican funding measure does not include Democrats' demands to shield Dreamers, Republican Representative Mike Simpson said on Tuesday.

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"In my judgment, the CR will pass the House by the end of the week", he said.

As NPR's Susan Davis reports, "The general consensus among members is this is simply a vote to buy time to continue negotiations on immigration and budget talks, and they want to cast the vote as a vote for/against a shutdown".

"I think everyone has the empathy and compassion to want to help these young people who are stranded and we're trying to find that, but shutting down the government isn't going to help them".

"Everything we've seen from this administration has been this effort to remove people of color and streamline the process for white people", said Angel Padilla of the anti-Trump group Indivisible.

The bill is silent, however, on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal program that offered employment rights and other protections to qualifying immigrants who would otherwise be at risk of deportation.

"The "Gang of Six" deal to fix DACA will not get a vote in the House or the Senate because POTUS will not sign it", Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn of Texas tweeted early Wednesday morning, despite President Donald Trump's promise last week that he would sign whatever deal Congress could come up with.

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"With no imminent deadline on immigration, and with bipartisan talks well underway, there is no reason why Congress should hold government funding hostage over the issue of illegal immigration", he said.

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