Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. Congress approves short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown

U.S. Congress approves short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown

Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on funding for border security.

Congress on Thursday approved the two-week stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, setting up a potential standoff over Trump's proposed border wall later this month.

The White House and congressional leaders agreed to the two-week funding extension in light of the death of former President George H.W. Bush, who was honored at the Capitol this week. The measure now goes to President Trump to be signed.

But the disagreements are far from resolved.

Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters the rest of the seven-bill spending package being negotiated is "basically done".

A group of GOP senators introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to fully fund the border wall with $25 billion.

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Apart from the complications of needing bipartisan support in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, House Republicans right now do not have the votes to pass a bill with or without the $5 billion in wall funding sought by Trump.

At an appearance in Kansas City, Missouri, Trump accused Democrats of playing a political game, and said it was one that he ultimately would win.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said that the last time he talked to Mr Trump, the president was "steadfast" on getting the US$5 billion he wants for the wall. Mr Cornyn said. "I can't see how in the world that would be acceptable". The president said he will ask Congress for more money next year, but didn't say how much. He has sent some strong messages to most everybody.

Earlier this year, Congress passed spending Bills funding about 75 per cent of the government through next September, agreeing to big increases for the Pentagon, the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies. Funding for those agencies had been set to expire Friday at midnight. Departments at a risk of a partial shutdown include the departments of State, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security. That reality has been a frustration for Trump in the past and he has been inconsistent on whether he wants to avoid a partial shutdown. Seven out of 12 areas of federal appropriations now remain unfunded for the rest of FY2019, though lawmakers have successfully funded approximately 75 percent of government earlier this year.

What about the federal budget deficit?

Medicare and Social Security benefits would similarly continue to be paid and unaffected. Trump said these cities are "grave threats to public safety and national security".

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