Congress heads to stopgap bill to avert government shutdown

Donald Trump

A December 7 partial government shutdown had appeared possible, but Trump told reporters on Air Force One Saturday he would be willing to sign a two-week government funding extension to allow for ceremonies honoring former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday. Bush, the nation's 41st president, died Friday at the age of 94. And even some Republicans balk at spending more than the $1.6 billion already provided.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he is willing to extend the deadline for funding the federal government to avoid a government shutdown.

Most legislation requires 60 votes on the Senate floor, meaning Republicans - who now hold a narrow two-seat majority - will need Democrats to help pass any spending bills.

But it is the fight over money for President Trump's planned wall on the US border with Mexico that has been the main sticking point in the talks so far.

The White House released a statement promptly after his passing and Trump has showered the former president with praise on Twitter.

House Republicans have passed a spending bill that includes $5 billion for the president's proposed border wall, while Senate Democrats have proposed $1.6 billion for the project.

Trump tweeted Monday: "We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall".

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If Congress can't agree on border security or wall funding, one solution being considered by lawmakers is a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through the fiscal year. The meeting has been tentatively rescheduled for December 11, said a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The House and Senate are expected to approve the new deadline at some point this week.

While Trump has pushed Democrats to build the wall, Schumer and Pelosi face growing pressure from the party's liberal wing to block it. Six of the seven appropriations bills are ready to go, Politico said, with funding for the border remaining as the last hurdle to clear.

Lawmakers are considering a sweeping criminal justice package with sentencing reforms, a farm bill that's a top priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other items before year-end.

"There is a possible shutdown if we don't get the wall", Trump said Thursday as he departed the White House for the G-20 Summit in Argentina.

Hoyer then told reporters that he could he could help draft border security language in such a vague manner to appease most of his Democrat caucus. Federal funding for those is set to expire at midnight on Friday.

Most of the federal government has been funded for the fiscal year that runs through September 30, 2019, but the stalemate is over wall funds and other remaining federal agencies.

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