Trump says USA government shutdown could happen, blames Democrats

Nancy Pelosi

Democrats have accused Trump of exaggerating the impact of immigration policy on crime and terrorism, and say the president is using the issue to try and keep Muslims out of the United States.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is working toward a deal with House Republican leaders that would secure the conservative group's support for bill funding the government through December 22 in exchange for breaking out a separate defense funding bill in the next round of budget negotiations.

The drama comes as House and Senate negotiators are seeking to finalize a Republican tax overhaul that would represent a crowning legislative achievement for the GOP in a year otherwise devoid of them. Freedom Caucus members will likely give leaders whatever support they need to pass the legislation, Meadows said. "There's nothing about veterans' funding, nothing about CHIP- CHIP - children's health insurance, community health centers, nothing about, well, the DREAM Act, among other things", she said. They also have no interest in a shutdown that would raise questions about their ability to govern. They know they'd still have leverage on subsequent bills needed to keep the government running.

Congress seems set to prevent a weekend government shutdown, but lawmakers and President Donald Trump still have longer-range disputes to settle over spending, immigration and other issues before they can declare budget peace.

But Trump unexpectedly tossed a hand grenade into the mix when he told reporters that a shutdown "could happen" and blamed Democrats. He said Democrats "want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime".

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Abortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: "About time" GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) joined their Republican counterparts at the White House, one week after they pulled out of a meeting created to resolve the contentious year-end spending fight.

Trump tweeted similar attacks on Democratic leaders shortly before a meeting that was scheduled last week, prompting angered Democrats to boycott it.

This time, the White House smoothed the waters by following up with a more peaceable, written statement. But in setting up Thursday's meeting, he praised them for choosing to "put their responsibility to the American people above partisanship".

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The White House said Trump would sign the stopgap spending measure. It also laid out administration budget goals, saying money for the military including missile defense and security along the border with Mexico "must be prioritized in a long-term funding agreement".

The two-week bill is aimed at giving negotiators more time to settle differences.

The short-term spending bill does provide some short-term help for states that are running out of money to finance the children's health insurance program for lower-income children, but it stops short of renewing the program, which Congress allowed to expire at the end of September.

Republicans generally favor more money for defense programs, while Democrats often demand equal increases for domestic social programs. Trump ended safeguards against deportation three months ago, but Democrats are demanding their revival and Trump has expressed openness to restoring them.

Even the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have been threatening to oppose the temporary spending measure, predicted passage.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday that it is one of the party's priorities.

Democratic votes for any budget measure will be crucial in the Senate, where Republicans by themselves lack the 60 votes needed to approve the legislation.

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