Home / World News / House votes to avert federal shutdown, Senate chances dim – The Denver Post

House votes to avert federal shutdown, Senate chances dim – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — On the edge of a government shutdown, a divided House voted late Thursday to keep the government open past a Friday deadline — setting up an eleventh-hour standoff in the Senate, where Democrats have vowed to kill the measure.

The partisan roadblock in the GOP-controlled Senate left just a day and little hope for negotiators searching for a way to avoid shuttering federal offices and keeping thousands of employees home from work. A closure, coming on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, would be only the fourth such episode in roughly two decades and pose perils for both in parties in an election year.

Still, Senate Democrats appeared ready to take the risk of shouldering the blame. Emboldened by a liberal base clamoring to challenge Trump, they’ve demanded concessions on immigration, chiefly protection for thousands of young immigrants facing deportation, and largely unified behind the effort. Leaders said Thursday they would have the votes to block the House-passed measure that would have funded the government for another four weeks.

Republican leaders said the plan would give the White House and lawmakers more time to work through the disputes on immigration and spending that they’ve tangled over for months. Those talks were roiled last week by Trump’s comments questioning the need for immigration for “shithole countries” in Africa. With trust at a low ebb, Democrats said they weren’t willing to give Republicans that time to negotiate, arguing they could be back in the same standoff a month from now and push for a shorter extension that could keep the pressure on.

Schumer asked how can senators negotiate when the president, who has to sign the legislation, “is like a sphinx on this issue, or says one thing one day and one thing the next?”

Most Senate Democrats and some Republicans were expected to vote against the House plan, probably Friday.

Senate rejection would leave the pathway ahead uncertain with only one guarantee: finger-pointing by both parties, which began as that chamber debated the measure late Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Democrats of a “fixation on illegal immigration,” which he said “has them threatening to filibuster spending for the whole government.”

Trump weighed in earlier in the day from Pennsylvania, where he flew to help a GOP candidate in a special congressional election.

“I really believe the Democrats want a shutdown to get off the subject of the tax cuts because they’re doing so well,” he said.

The stakes are high for Republicans, who control the Congress and the White House and are still struggling to prove they can govern.

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