Congress Looks to Delay Fight Over Government Shutdown Until Right Before Christmas

December 4, 2018

By Sarah D. Wire

WASHINGTON — Consumed by the funeral of President George H.W. Bush and still divided over funding for border security, Congress is moving to push back Friday’s government shutdown deadline until Dec. 21.

The delay could provide more time to reach a compromise over the key sticking point — funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. But it also raises the stakes for all sides, creating the possibility of a partial government shutdown right before Christmas, something few in Washington would want to risk.

The stopgap measure, filed Monday in the House, will probably be approved this week by Congress, and Trump has said he would likely sign it.

“If they (lawmakers) come, which they have, to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing,” Trump said Sunday. “I would absolutely consider it and probably give it.”

The two-week stopgap measure would also extend the National Flood Insurance program until Dec. 21.

The House has canceled all votes for the week and many members are not making the trip to Washington, but the chamber can pass the stopgap measure by voice vote Thursday or Friday, as long as no representative objects. The Senate will resume votes Wednesday afternoon after Bush’s casket leaves the Capitol. The federal government is closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning.

Congress passed bills earlier this year to fund about 75 percent of the government, including defense, education and other areas, but it still hasn’t agreed on funding for the departments of Homeland Security, Interior, State, Justice and others.

The largest dispute is whether Congress should include $5 billion for the border wall, the president’s signature issue, approve the previously negotiated $1.6 billion for border security, or make some compromise between the two.

Trump had previously promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but now he is asking U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill, insisting that Mexico will be forced to reimburse the U.S. for the cost. Mexico has said it will never pay for the wall.

Trump has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he might veto the spending bill and allow the government to shut down if Congress passes it without the $5 billion for the wall. But that may be more difficult for Trump if he is blamed for an unpopular government shutdown just as Americans are focused on celebrating the holiday.

A planned meeting at the White House on Tuesday between Trump, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer was postponed because of the funeral arrangements, according to a senior Democratic aide. Schumer and Pelosi have requested it be rescheduled for next Tuesday.

In 2017, Schumer and Pelosi successfully negotiated a spending deal with Trump that left some in his own party frustrated.

It’s unclear whether moving the deadline so close to the holiday will prompt compromise as members become more eager to escape Washington.

“I think everybody would like at some point to go home for Christmas and not be here Christmas Eve,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Monday.

Cornyn said a two-week extension just keeps lawmakers in Washington longer.

“I don’t know why we’d want a (continuing resolution) going up to Dec. 21. We know what we have to do. Let’s just get it done in a shorter period of time so we can enjoy the holidays,” Cornyn said.

But Marc Short, who served as Trump’s legislative affairs director until July, said that because the shutdown would affect only a limited part of the federal government and wouldn’t directly affect many Americans, there is little pressure on either side to cave.

“After this two-week extension, I don’t really see a way out. I think that in previous shutdowns you had a lot of pressure points to bring them to resolution,” Short said.

Democrats don’t see a reason to give in on funding the wall and Trump feels fulfilling that campaign promise is important, Short said.

“It’s going to be more a battle that’s fought on the media on messaging.” Short said.

———

©2018 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Congress

Congress Has Tried More Than 200 Times to Pass an Anti-Lynching Law. This Year, It Could Fail Again Congress
Congress Has Tried More Than 200 Times to Pass an Anti-Lynching Law. This Year, It Could Fail Again
December 9, 2018
by Christina Paulos

It was nearly a century ago that Rep. Leonidas C. Dyer, a Republican from Missouri, introduced a bill to make lynching a federal crime. With vigilante slayings of African-Americans rampant, it promised to force the federal government... Read More

After CIA’s Khashoggi Briefing, GOP Senators Say It’s Clear Saudi Crown Prince Was Complicit Congress
After CIA’s Khashoggi Briefing, GOP Senators Say It’s Clear Saudi Crown Prince Was Complicit
December 5, 2018
by Christina Paulos

After a closed-door CIA briefing about the slaying of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, key Senate Republicans sharply contradicted President Donald Trump on Tuesday and said there was no question that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the killing. Read More

Congress Looks to Delay Fight Over Government Shutdown Until Right Before Christmas Congress
Congress Looks to Delay Fight Over Government Shutdown Until Right Before Christmas
December 4, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Consumed by the funeral of President George H.W. Bush and still divided over funding for border security, Congress is moving to push back Friday’s government shutdown deadline until Dec. 21. The delay could provide... Read More

Comey Ends Resistance to Subpoena, Will Testify Privately Friday Congress
Comey Ends Resistance to Subpoena, Will Testify Privately Friday
December 3, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify Friday at a closed House Judiciary Committee hearing, his lawyers said after ending a legal fight to quash their subpoena. Comey sued to block the summons last week, contending... Read More

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Selects Joaquin Castro as Next Chairman Congress
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Selects Joaquin Castro as Next Chairman
December 1, 2018
by Christina Paulos

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was elected Friday as the next chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which will begin the next Congress with its largest membership since the group’s founding. The CHC had 31 members this Congress and will grow to 39 members next year... Read More

Problem Solvers Secure Reforms to House Rules: What Are They and What Do They Mean? U.S. House
Problem Solvers Secure Reforms to House Rules: What Are They and What Do They Mean?
November 30, 2018
by TWN Staff

This week members of the Problem Solvers Caucus reached an agreement with Leader Pelosi and Rules Committee Ranking Member McGovern that they assert will help break the partisan gridlock in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top