Democrats threaten government shutdown over 'Dreamers' program

Democrats threaten government shutdown over 'Dreamers' program

The jockeying so close to Friday's midnight deadline added suspense in Washington while Republican congressional leaders labored to demonstrate that they can govern and spare the country the chaos of a government shutdown at Christmas time that likely would not sit well with voters.

U.S. President Donald Trump will face off with Democratic leaders of Congress on Thursday in a high-stakes White House meeting meant to bridge differences over a spending bill and prevent a government shutdown.

Trump says, "everyone gets together and they pick all the good things and get rid of the things they don't like". "There will be zero support on numbers that are too high, regardless of anybody's position on that". So the House planned to approve legislation Thursday financing federal agencies through December 22. In a brief drama, around two dozen of them withheld votes for a procedural measure advancing the GOP's prized, separate tax bill until House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., agreed to talk to them further about their concerns, said Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. And in the House, conservative Republicans have tended to oppose spending bills in recent years, forcing GOP leaders to solicit Democratic votes to keep government operating.

Democrats have the ability to demand changes in the spending bills because Republicans do not have enough Senate votes to block a Democratic filibuster in that chamber.

Those safeguards ended three months ago, but Trump has said he could restore them, according to The Associated Press.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday that lawmakers "will not leave here" without approval of language helping those immigrants.

"President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown", she wrote. He blamed Democrats, saying they want "illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime".

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This time, the White House smoothed the waters by following up with a more peaceable, written statement.

Trump says the end result will be "perfecto" and something will come out of conference "pretty quickly".

Democrats oppose Trump's stand on other immigration issues as well. It also laid out administration budget goals, saying money for the military, including missile defense and security along the border with Mexico, "must be prioritized in a long-term funding agreement".

The GOP will need Democratic votes to push the spending bills through Congress, another reason the pathway is unclear for averting a closure just weeks before the start of the 2018 election year.

The Republican bill will provide some short-term help for states that are running out of money to finance a health insurance program for lower-income children, Republican aides said. The Senate seemed ready to follow. They know they'd still have leverage on subsequent bills needed to keep the government running.

They want GOP leaders to take a firmer stance in negotiations with Democrats - including opposing efforts to link an increase in defense spending, supported by most Republicans, to an increase in nondefense spending, favored by Democrats.

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