Close to the Brink on a Government Shutdown

Close to the Brink on a Government Shutdown

While the stop-gap funding measure backed by Republican leaders does not include a legislative shield for Dreamers, it does grant Democrats an unrelated, high-priority measure: a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Back in his home state of IL on Monday, Durbin said he stands by his claim, and he called on the White House to release an audiotape it might have of the meeting.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, also a Republican, said senators from both parties support a proposed compromise. He elaborated on the way to dinner Sunday night with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., saying Democrats "don't want to help the DACA people". Most of his roughly three-dozen caucus members also fell in line.

"I'm very hopeful we can agree on a deal that increases border security ... and that also contains a permanent solution for the DACA population", Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee at Tuesday's hearing. Another Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said he won't vote against a stopgap because he won't let the government shut down.

If negotiations collapse, most federal agencies would close and hundreds of thousands government workers would be furloughed. But "essential services" dealing with public safety and national security would continue.

The North Carolina Republican said "there wasn't any kind of oversell" at Wednesday morning's conference meeting on the continuing resolution to keep the government running.

If the funding fight is not resolved and the government goes into shutdown mode over the weekend, there is expected to be fierce jockeying among Republicans and Democrats over assigning blame.

The opposition party has been pushing for any budget agreement to include a deal on the future of the so-called "Dreamers" who were brought to the country illegally as children and are set to lose their protected status on March 5.

House Republicans are voting on a bill that can't pass the Senate: Republicans fire back that even if they could pass a spending bill in the House with their own members, Senate Democrats would just block it by requiring 60 votes, which is about 10 more than Republicans have.

As NPR and other outlets reported last week, it was Trump who rejected a tentative agreement reached by a small, bipartisan group of senators that would have allowed DACA recipients permanent residency in the USA and a path to citizenship.

Bipartisan DACA deal falls through, shutdown looming
How does a deal to address the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program get done, asks one senior Republican aide. Adam Jarchow in Wisconsin's 10th Senate District on Tuesday, the latest in a recent series of Democratic victories nationwide.

"I think cool heads hopefully will prevail on this", he said.

Rank-and-file Republicans seem to like the deal and are hoping for a vote on Thursday, just ahead of the Friday deadline.

"I think that the Freedom Caucus has always been willing to take the hard votes when they believe that they're speaking for millions of Americans who feel like Washington, D.C., has forgotten them", Mr. Meadows said.

"I want to keep the government open".

If funding were to lapse, it would be the first shutdown with a disruption to government employees while one party controlled both Congress and the White House.

Ryan tells reporters he won't bring separate immigration legislation to the House floor unless President Donald Trump supports it.

In other words: Five days until the government runs out of money to fully operate and there are more questions than answers.

It would be the fourth significant government shutdown.

As of late on Thursday, there was no visible sign that Republicans who control Congress would meet Democrats' demands for including a plan for the "Dreamers" in the temporary spending bill.

Negotiations over a broader budget agreement have stalled over several issues, but the two biggest sticking points are: total spending levels for fiscal year 2018, which began in October, and protections for the so-called Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children. In September of past year, the Trump administration announced those protections would end in March 2018. Negotiations on that measure are proceeding slowly, however.