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Senate passes spending bill, moves one step closer to avoiding shutdown

08 December 2017

The House today passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill.

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus initially balked at the measure because it only ran through December 22, leaving thorny decisions to the pre-Christmas rush.

It took until the last minute for Ryan to find support within the GOP to pass the bill.

By a vote of 235-193, the House approved the stop-gap spending bill, sending it to the Senate for passage, which is expected by Friday. It wants to attach the full-year 2018 defense spending bill to the stopgap spending bill that would keep the rest of the government open only until January.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss the way forward on a spending deal with the president and vice president.

The two-week bill is aimed at giving negotiators more time to settle differences. They are also wary of a year-end spending bill becoming a legislative "Christmas tree" that could include relief for Dreamers and other Democratic priorities.

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For its part, the White House has indicated Trump will sign the two-week spending extension and laid out its goals for upcoming budget bargaining. Republican leaders have floated a $54 billion boost in defense next year and a $37 billion boost in nondefense spending; Democrats have thus far demanded equivalent increases for both.

But Trump unexpectedly tossed a political hand grenade into the mix when he told reporters that a shutdown "could happen" and blamed Democrats. "Nothing specific has been agreed to, but discussions continue", Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement after the meeting.

Mr. Trump has rescinded the so-called DACA deportation amnesty that was ordered by former President Barack Obama, leaving Congress until March to act, but some Democrats want to deal with it now.

"And now, it's even worse".

"We hope that we're going to make some great progress for our country", Trump said in opening the Oval Office meeting.

Senate passes spending bill, moves one step closer to avoiding shutdown