Clock running out to avert US government shutdown as Trump blames Democrats

Congress Likely Racing Toward a Government Shutdown

Funds for the federal government run out at midnight, and without a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations it appears that the GOP doesn't have the votes to keep the lights on as dawn breaks on the first anniversary of Trump's January 20th inauguration. This impasse has raised serious "questions about the GOP's capacity - one year into the Trump administration - to govern", says The Washington Post. Mr. Trump, however, wants to trade such legislation for funding of his promised wall on the US border with Mexico.

White House officials have been coy when asked if Trump is working the phones trying to convince Republicans to hold the line and enough Democrats to join them when the Senate votes with a 60-vote threshold to stop debate on the continuing resolution then a simple-majority vote on whether to send it to Trump's desk.

House Democrats gathered for lunch from We The Pizza on Friday to discuss strategy, bursting into spontaneous bouts of applause and cheers at time. We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure.

The chamber backed away from a plan to adjourn for a one-week recess Friday afternoon, meaning the GOP-controlled House could wait to see if a last-minute compromise would be reached requiring a new vote.

If no bill passes by midnight, the federal government will enter a partial shutdown affecting nonessential services, which would close national parks and cause services like the issuance of replacement Social Security cards to be halted.

All national security and military personnel deemed "essential" would continue to report to work, but they wouldn't get paid. In 2013, conservative Republicans associated with the Tea Party movement triggered a 16-day government shutdown. "You have a deadline to do immigration over the next few months", Burnett noted.

This would be the fourth short-term spending bill since the fiscal year began in October, and some Republicans are pushing for longer-term planning.

Democrats have demanded the bill include protections from deportation for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants.

Senate Democrats have insisted that as part of the government funding process lawmakers resolve the legal status of the more than 700,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children who had been protected under the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The blame game is already in full swing with neither party wishing to be held responsible for closing the government as midterm elections loom in November. And many Democrats were keeping their powder dry as to how they would vote, waiting on the House to lay their cards on the table and prove they had the GOP votes on their own to pass the continuing resolution.

"I just can not imagine working at an agency without an updated contingency plan, without the days and weeks we spent working through the worst case scenarios of funding and staffing", said Melanie Newman, who worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and OMB under Obama.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to challenge President-elect Donald Trump, and he's said, "He's not my friend".

The message at the meeting was: "Let's bring the House bill over and have a quick vote and make the Democrats up in 2018 figure out what they want to do", the person said. "I mean, the problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top", Trump said on Fox News during the 2013 shutdown, when President Barack Obama was in office. While progress was reported at the meeting between the two men, it yielded no deal.

"Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since I took the oath of office, and I must say the country is doing really well", he said. That would be an indication the government is open, even if he signs the actual bill at a later time. He has spent weeks getting his members to proclaim that we should not do anything to fund the government until we address the DACA issue.

On Wednesday, the Republican Party appeared to have a plan to avoid a government shutdown or, at the very least, put Democrats in a tricky spot.

At least some Democratic votes are needed to pass the budget measure ahead of the Friday midnight deadline.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has indicated he was leaning in favour of the stopgap measure.

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