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 intensifies effort to discredit Mueller report
Trump intensifies effort to discredit Mueller report

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is intensifying his efforts to discredit a highly anticipated report on the special counsel's Russia investigation.

Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes
Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes

NEW YORK (AP) - A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the U.S. for days leading up to last fall's midterm elections.

Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding
Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to certify that they protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding, White House officials said.

Trump
Trump's invective at John McCain dismays some Republicans

Casting aside rare censure from Republican lawmakers, President Donald Trump aimed new blasts of invective at the late John McCain , even claiming credit for the senator's moving Washington funeral and complaining he was never properly thanked. Trump then launched a lengthy rant in which he claimed

Trump
Trump's border wall money may come at expense of schools for military kids
  • US
  • 2019-03-20 20:01:47Z

The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump's much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers. The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected. The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration's oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House's desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

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.