McConnell Confident That A Government Shutdown Will Be Averted

Saul Bowman
December 19, 2018

Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars. And they certainly don't have the votes in the Senate. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

The White House said Tuesday that they were waiting to see what the Senate could pass. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would then review what they come up with.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal agency responsible for border security, has a priority plan for 33 segments of wall covering 1,100 miles in total.

It was a turnaround after days of impasse.

But that doesn't mean a partial shutdown that would start just days before Christmas wouldn't be disruptive.

"We'll see what happens", he said at the White House.

GOP Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told reporters on Monday after meeting with McConnell that Trump could make an announcement about the issue later that day.

Come January, the Democrats will be the majority party in the House of Representatives. And while there is still time to avert a shutdown, so far the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement to keep the government open. One idea could be a stopgap measure into February.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer initially offered this as an option to avoid a shutdown, but said last week it wasn't on the table anymore because it couldn't pass the House.

The President defiantly said during a dramatic meeting last week with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer that he would take responsibility for a partial shutdown if one takes place.

He appeared to ease that stance early Tuesday when the White House said it did not want a shutdown and was looking for "other ways" to obtain funding, including getting Congress to reprogram $1 billion in unspent funds so Trump could use them on his immigration policies.

The White House responded by adding a $1 billion "slush fund" for "immigration projects" (including, by implication, the border wall) into the DHS continuing resolution - a deal that made Democrats balk.

But the 2019 budget deal reportedly also will block several cheap labor visa programs pushed by business groups, sources tell Breitbart News.

"We have other ways that we can get to that $5bn", Sanders said in an appearance on Fox News. "That's something that we would be able to support as a long as we can couple that with other funding resources". Leader McConnell has said we shouldn't shut down the government. "And I'm going to shut it down for border security".

But House Democrats largely reject the Senate's bill because it includes 65 miles of additional fencing along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

He promised many hundreds of times during his campaign that American taxpayers would not have to pay anything for his 30-foot-tall, concrete "great wall" because he would force Mexico to pay for it. It's too early to say.

The haggling comes as funding for the homeland security, justice, agriculture, interior and other departments is due to expire at midnight on Friday.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government's discretionary account for the budget year that began October 1.

About a fourth of the federal government will run out of operating money Friday at midnight.

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