Nervous Republicans fear they'll pay if government shuts down

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.   Alex Wong  Getty Images

A deal between President Donald Trump and Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation remained distant Tuesday, as House Republicans leaders shifted to a painful backup plan: crafting a stopgap funding bill that would merely delay the threat of an election-year shutdown.

A bipartisan deal on immigration that would shield some 700,000 people from deportation lay in tatters after the president's reported use of vulgar language during a tense White House meeting last week set off clashes with key Democrats.

The meeting was convened to consider a bipartisan immigration deal to protect the "dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, including the 690,000 now enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump has canceled.

With a Friday midnight deadline looming, Republicans are angling for a temporary bill that extends federal spending into mid-February, re-authorizes funding for a threatened children's health insurance scheme for six years, and scraps some health-related taxes - with no immigration-linked measure included.

"My understand is leadership is going to put it on the floor regardless if they have votes or not", Meadows said.

When the Senate approved a similar short-term spending bill in December, 17 Democrats plus ME independent Sen.

"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for", said Mr. Trump, calling the proposal "horrible" and "very, very weak".

Sanders put the blame on Senate Democrats if the government is shut down, due to their insistence on a bill to fix DACA.

The slim Republican margin of control in the US Senate means Trump's party will need some Democratic support to resolve the government funding stand-off.

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US White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington January 3, 2018. "Knowing the reluctance of many of my members, I am getting prepared for what I believe will be a very contentious meeting as we discuss doing a short-term CR for the fourth time in six months".

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed the Republican stopgap proposal as "a loser" that doesn't help veterans, opioid addicts and retirees or meet defense needs.

Because of the recently passed GOP tax bill, which eliminates the individual mandate to purchase health insurance in "Obamacare" in 2019, the Congressional Budget Office has found that it doesn't cost money to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. The world won't come to an end, but as they were in the past, Republicans will look like inept, petty, angry children actually willing to take their ball - in this case, the government - and go home.

"Good faith negotiations are underway and to push that aside and try and jeopardize funding for things like S-CHIP and our military, to me, makes no sense", said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Durbin told reporters "we'll wait and see", a telling sign that perhaps the most watched Democrat on the issue refused to say if he would vote to shut down the government over it. Democrats have threatened to withhold their votes because of the stalemate over immigration - a potential obstacle in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed. But House conservatives insist they have the votes to reject the plan.

"It is hard to imagine", he says, "how any judge could come to the conclusion that the sitting president does not have the authority to discontinue a policy established by his predecessor, especially one that is constitutionally questionable as DACA is".

"It's got to be bipartisan and the president has to support this", Ryan said about an immigration deal. Seven of those Democrats face re-election in November in Trump-won states, while others - like Virginia Democratic Sens.

Trump said in September he was terminating the DACA program, begun by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, effective in March. And we cannot keep kicking this issue down the can.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters on, December 12, 2017, about the GOP tax bill following the Democratic Caucus weekly policy meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.


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