House passes stopgap spending bill increasing Defense funding

By Richard Cowan and David Morgan

By Richard Cowan and David Morgan

The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a spending bill that would keep the government open past Thursday and provide a full-year boost to defense funding, as lawmakers tried to speed toward a massive budget deal before the end of the week.

And despite Trump's bellicose language and threat of a shutdown if he doesn't get what he wants on immigration, Sanders said that Trump wants a budget deal and that the White House doesn't expect immigration legislation to be attached to it.

Both McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that a deal could be reached soon.

A short-term spending bill that merely maintains current spending levels could pass the Senate, but many House Democrats still say they will withhold their support for such a measure unless it protects from deportation young, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

The budget negotiations, conducted chiefly by the Senate's top leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of NY, have intensified in recent days - and the looming government shutdown at midnight Thursday added urgency to the talks. Democrats are not taking that approach this time around.

McConnell later told reporters that he had a "good meeting" with Schumer.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned that the optics may be against the Democrats if they risk another shutdown.

Whatever the final form the CR may take, GOP leaders will likely get the votes they need to keep the government open - even though House conservatives are raising a stink about doing another stopgap measure. While leaders carve out a deal, President Trump [VIDEO] has threatened a #government shutdown if a deal cannot be reached. In the 2019 fiscal year, defense spending would rise by $85 billion and domestic spending by $68 billion. Trump can't expect many Republicans to ever get behind his plan, which goes far beyond curbs on illegal immigration to restrict legal immigration in cruel ways that would harm US competitiveness and standing. "I'm optimistic that very soon we're going to be able to reach an agreement". Last month, the government was closed for three days after Democrats demanded action on immigration legislation. That bill also included a full year of funding for defense spending.

Passing the short-term spending will likely be easier this time around after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell succeeded in sidelining the contentious issue of immigration.

However, the Senate rules require a supermajority of 60 votes to get something approved, ensuring that Democrats can block Trump's proposals and Republicans can block Democrats' proposals. "I would love if we can guarantee a lot of things around here".

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took the unusual step of holding the House floor for more than two hours to talk about her opposition to a deal, announcing she can not support the spending deal unless House Speaker Paul Ryan commits to an open immigration debate, with the opportunity for members to offer amendments. President Trump tweeted, "Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats, and DACA".

But a caps deal has been close for weeks, if not months, held largely on the sidelines by Democrats wary of giving up a crucial piece of leverage as they seek a long-term resolution on immigration.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters on Monday that it would be hard for conservatives to support a bigger budget deal that increases spending across the board. President Trump signed the bill on Monday, effectively ending the shutdown and reopening the government.

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