Home / World News / GOP leaders eye another shutdown-averting stopgap – The Denver Post

GOP leaders eye another shutdown-averting stopgap – The Denver Post

By Mike Debonis and Erica Werner, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders moved toward another short-term spending stopgap Wednesday after talks aimed at passing more-ambitious legislation appeared to collapse as a government shutdown deadline approached.

Republicans have pushed for increased military funding and disaster aid for hurricane-ravaged communities in the South. Democrats, meanwhile, want a boost to domestic programs and a solution for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

But with a midnight-Friday shutdown deadline looming, not to mention the coming holidays, GOP leaders in the House and Senate indicated that lawmakers were likely to do the bare minimum – passing another short-term spending bill to keep the government open and then revisiting all these issues in January.

“There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s got to get wrapped up and loose threads out there that have to be tied together at some point, and if we end up having to do that all in the first two weeks of January, I guess that’s what we’ll end up doing,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate.

The path to passing a stopgap remained unclear late Wednesday, however. House Republicans met behind closed doors for more than an hour, airing frustrations over the spending legislation just hours after they sent a landmark GOP tax overhaul to President Trump. They emerged without a clear plan to proceed.

“There’s not enough votes to get it done right now,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The main roadblock came from advocates of increased military spending, who are frustrated that House Republican leaders abandoned plans to pass a bill delivering more than $600 billion in full-year defense funding after it became clear it could not pass the Senate.

Instead, leaders said they would continue current funding levels through Jan. 19, plus several billion dollars in extra funding to address “anomalies” in the defense budget. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told lawmakers the plan had the blessing of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, but that assurance fell short for many.

“You can’t fix a systemic problem with anomalies,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

One potential land mine, however, was defused Wednesday afternoon when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine – who had conditioned her vote for the tax bill on the separate passage of two health-care provisions – agreed to withdraw her demand that the health-care provisions get attached to the year-end spending legislation.

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