Shutdown due at midnight after lawmakers fail to reach deal




  • In Politics
  • 2018-12-22 04:04:11Z
  • By LISA MASCARO, MATTHEW DALY and ZEKE MILLER
 

WASHINGTON (AP) - White House negotiators left the Capitol late Friday, and the House and Senate adjourned without a spending deal, ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight with President Donald Trump demanding billions of dollars for his long-promised Mexican border wall.

Trump's top envoys were straining to broker a last-minute compromise with Democrats and some of their own Republican Party's lawmakers. But Vice President Mike Pence, incoming White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and senior adviser Jared Kushner departed after hours spent dashing back and forth, with no outward signs of an agreement.

"We're going to have a shutdown," Trump said via video message on Twitter less than three hours from the deadline. "There's nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes."

Trump added, "The shutdown hopefully will not last long."

The shutdown would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas. Senators passed legislation ensuring workers receive back pay; it will be sent to the House.

Mulvaney, who is currently the White House budget chief, sent out a memo around 10 p.m. instructing agencies "to execute plans for an orderly shutdown" when the funding lapses at midnight.

At a White House bill signing, Trump said the government was "totally prepared for a very long shutdown," though hardly anyone thought a lengthy shutdown was likely.

The president tried to pin the blame on Democrats, even though just last week he said he would be "proud" to claim ownership of a shutdown in a fight for the wall. Campaigning for office two years ago, he had declared the wall would go up "so fast it will make your head spin." He also promised Mexico would pay for it, which Mexico has said it will never do.

"This is our only chance that we'll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security," Trump said Friday at the White House. Democrats will take control of the House in January, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.

Looking for a way to claim victory, Trump said he would accept money for a "Steel Slat Barrier" with spikes on the top, which he said would be just as effective as a "wall" and "at the same time beautiful."

Congress is planning to be back in session Saturday, but no votes were scheduled. Lawmakers were told they would be given 24-hour notice to return to Washington.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, left negotiations calling the chances of an accord by midnight "probably slim."

Trump convened Republican senators for a morning meeting, but the lengthy back-and-forth did not appear to set a strategy for moving forward. He has demanded $5.7 billion.

"I was in an hour meeting on that and there was no conclusion," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly set in motion a procedural vote on a House Republican package that would give Trump the money he wants for the wall, but it was not expected to pass.

To underscore the difficulty, that Senate vote to proceed was stuck in a long holding pattern as senators were being recalled to Washington. They had already approved a bipartisan package earlier this week that would continue existing border security funding, at $1.3 billion, but without new money for Trump's wall. Many were home for the holidays.

After a marathon five-hour delay Pence cast a tie-breaking vote that loosened the logjam, kick-starting negotiations that senators hoped could produce a resolution.

"What this does is push this ahead to a negotiation," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. He called it "the best we can do to keep from shutting down government - or if it does shut down, shutting down very briefly."

Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said it looked like a shutdown might not be avoidable, but top leaders were talking and he indicated any government disruption could be short.

Amid the impasse, Pence and the others were dispatched to the Capitol to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who told them Trump's demands for wall money would not pass the Senate, according to the senator's spokesman.

Schumer told Pence, Mulvaney and Kushner that other offers to keep the government running with existing levels of border security funds remain on the table.

Pence and the others later walked across the Capitol to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The Senate was expected to reject the House measure because Democratic votes are needed and McConnell showed little interest in changing the rules - as Trump proposed - to allow a simple majority for passage.

One possibility was that the Senate might strip the border wall funds out of the package, pass it and send it back to the House. House lawmakers were told to remain in town on call.

Another idea was to revive an earlier bipartisan Senate bill with $1.6 billion for border security but not the wall.

"The biggest problem is, we just don't know what the president will sign," said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

So restive were senators returning to Washington that McConnell and others sported lapel buttons declaring them members of the "Cranky Senate Coalition."

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said he returned to the Lone Star state Thursday only to get back on an early Friday morning flight to Washington.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz flew all the way home to Hawaii, tweeting that he spent 17 minutes with his family before returning on the 11-hour flight.

"Wheels down IAD ready to vote no on this stupid wall," Schatz tweeted Friday, referring to Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

Only a week ago, Trump insisted during a televised meeting at the White House he would take ownership of a shutdown over his border wall. "I will be the one to shut it down," he asserted.

But with the hours dwindling before the midnight deadline, he sought to reframe the debate and blame Democrats for the impasse that threatens hundreds of thousands of federal workers at the end-of-the-year holidays.

The White House said Trump would not go to Florida on Friday as planned for the Christmas holiday if the government were shutting down.

At issue is funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are funded for the year and would continue to operate as usual. The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, would not be affected because it's an independent agency.

Both the House and Senate packages would extend government funding through Feb. 8, all but guaranteeing another standoff once Democrats take control of the House in the New Year.

"There are a lot of us who want to avoid a shutdown," said Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. "I've been through about five of them in my career. None of them have worked in terms of their intent."

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump launches 2020 bid with vow to
Trump launches 2020 bid with vow to 'keep America great'
  • World
  • 2019-06-19 02:53:11Z

President Donald Trump launched his 2020 reelection campaign Tuesday much the same way he rode to power in 2016 -- with a raucous, nationalist rally stirring fear of illegal immigration and vowing to fight for blue collar workers. Lashing out at his Democratic opponents as radical leftists fueled by

US restores some aid but vows no more without migrant action
US restores some aid but vows no more without migrant action

The Trump administration said Monday it is easing previously announced cuts in hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Central American nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala but will not allow new funding until those countries do more to reduce migrant flows to the United States. The State Department said that after a review of more than $600 million in assistance that President Donald Trump ordered in March to be cut entirely, it would go ahead with about $400 million in projects and grants that had been previously approved.

As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants
As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico. The plan will likely encounter stiff opposition in Congress. Lawmakers, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have chafed against the president's repeated decisions to disregard spending bills passed by Congress, some of which he has signed into law himself.

Pompeo tries rallying foreign leaders in alleged oil attacks
Pompeo tries rallying foreign leaders in alleged oil attacks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reaching out to wary foreign leaders to frame alleged Iranian attacks in a Middle East oil shipping route as a problem for the world at large, especially for Asian countries vitally dependent on that oil. Pompeo, in a series of Sunday television interviews, emphasized the U.S. international outreach in the wake of what the U.S. says were Iranian attacks Thursday on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz . The world needs to unite," Pompeo said.

Trump to Stephanopoulos:
Trump to Stephanopoulos: 'I Like the Truth,' I Didn't Sit for Mueller Interview Because He'd 'Get Us for Lies'

President Trump appeared to be obsessed with the Mueller report during his wide-ranging interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, insisting that he read the special counsel's report while repeatedly claiming it says there was "no collusion" despite Robert Mueller stating specifically that no determination was reached on the concept of collusion.While speaking to Stephanopoulos in the back of the president's limousine, the president was asked what his pitch to swing voters "on the fence" would be, prompting Trump to quickly pivot to the Russia investigation, which he called a "phony witch hunt.""Mueller comes out-there's no collusion," the president declared. "And essentially a...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.