Saturday, 24 February, 2018

White House instructs agencies to prepare for 'possible' shutdown

Congress budget and spending Doug Jones weighs in on long-term bipartisan Senate budget compromise 0 By Elizabeth Lauten
Melinda Barton | 09 February, 2018, 06:34

Moving legislation swiftly through the upper chamber of Congress requires consent by all 100 members, but Republican Senator Rand Paul threw a wrench in the works by objecting to a rapid vote. The Senate was expected to take up the House stopgap legislation as Congress raced to get a finished bill for Trump to sign into law before government funding runs out on Thursday.

"I'm not advocating for shutting down the government", Paul said.

Despite simmering rebellion among Republicans and Democrats over a bipartisan budget agreement struck on Wednesday to end the logjam, the Senate had been aiming to vote on the deal later Thursday before sending it to the House.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY argued there wasn't enough time before the midnight deadline to vote on Paul's amendment because other senators will bring up their own amendments.

If passed, the bill would then head to the House of Representatives.

And liberal stalwarts including top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi were also in revolt, because the deal does nothing to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Sanders says it will move the White House away from "crisis to crisis budgeting". Trump said Tuesday he'd "love to see a shutdown if we can't get this stuff taken care of".

The deal, which would have to win approval from the House and President, would extend for a total of at least 10 years funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program.

If no resolution is reached by midnight Thursday, the government will run out of money. "It's, part of it depends on the Democrats".

"If you're against president (Barack) Obama's deficits, but you're for the Republican deficits, isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?" he boomed, adding that he wants his fellow lawmakers "to feel uncomfortable" over the impasse. Higher defense spending expected in the agreement would allow to make good on his campaign promise for a U.S. military build-up, although the White House is still concerned about non-defense spending levels, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told MSNBC.

"I think we're going to be fine", he said in a radio interview about the looming vote.

U.S. Defense Secretary J. Mattis urged the Congress to lift the defense spending cap and said a shutdown would "paralyze everything" the military does.

Pelosi, D-Calif., exercised her right as Democrats' House leader to speak for as long as she wanted to address the Senate bipartisan federal spending deal's lack of a solution for so-called Dreamers, who benefit from the DACA program that's set to expire March 5.