Fed­eral shut­down averted for 2 weeks

Votes buy time for talks on im­mi­gra­tion and other tough is­sues

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page -

Congress passes a stop­gap spend­ing bill to pre­vent a gov­ern­ment shut­down and keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning through Dec. 22.

WASH­ING­TON — Congress on Thurs­day passed a stop­gap spend­ing bill to pre­vent a gov­ern­ment shut­down this week­end and buy time for chal­leng­ing talks on a wide range of un­fin­ished busi­ness on Capi­tol Hill. The shut­down re­prieve came as all sides is­sued op­ti­mistic takes on an af­ter­noon White House meet­ing be­tween top con­gres­sional lead­ers and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The mea­sure passed the House 235-193, mostly along party lines, and breezed through the Sen­ate barely an hour later on a sweep­ing 81-14 tally. It would keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning through Dec. 22, when another, more dif­fi­cult, shut­down prob­lem awaits.

The bill headed to Trump for his sig­na­ture.

Topics at the White House ses­sion in­cluded re­lief from a bud­get freeze on the Pen­tagon and do­mes­tic agen­cies, ex­tend­ing a key chil­dren’s health pro­gram and aid to hur­ri­cane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. The trick­i­est topic, and a pri­or­ity for Democrats, was pro­tec­tions for im­mi­grants brought to the coun­try il­le­gally as chil­dren.

These “Dreamer” im­mi­grants are viewed sym­pa­thet­i­cally by the pub­lic and most law­mak­ers but face de­por­ta­tion in a few months be­cause Trump re­versed ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­tec­tions pro­vided to them by then-pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Both Demo­cratic and GOP lead­ers de­clared the meet­ing “pro­duc­tive.” The White House called it “con­struc­tive.” Pri­vately, con­gres­sional aides said lit­tle progress had been made.

GOP lead­ers said they agreed with the need to ad­dress im­mi­gra­tion, in­clud­ing the al­most 1 mil­lion im­mi­grants given pro­tec­tions by Obama, many of whom have only known Amer­ica as their home.

Spokes­men for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-wis., and Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mcconnell, R-KY., said the tricky im­mi­gra­tion is­sue “should be a sep­a­rate process and not used to hold hostage fund­ing for our men and women in uni­form.”

House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi in­sisted that any year-end deal solve the im­mi­gra­tion is­sue.

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