Congressional leaders look for a deal with shutdown looming
Scramble is on to keep money flowing
Congress returns Monday with just five days left to keep the government from shutting down, and President Trump is adding to the pressure by demanding money for a Southwest border wall and other controversial programs that threaten a bipartisan deal.
Lawmakers passed a stop- gap spending bill in December to fund federal agencies through midnight next Friday. Congressional leaders are now scrambling to reach a bipartisan compromise on new legislation to keep the money flowing through fiscal 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.
It's possible they may pass a short- term measure to keep the government funded for a few days or weeks past Friday's deadline to give themselves more time to negotiate.
"We’re making great progress on funding the government, avoiding a shutdown," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D- N. Y., said in a recent interview with the USA TODAY Network, referring to top Senate and House leaders of both parties.
"Our worry is that the president will come in and insist on certain things that couldn't get the support of everybody."
Among Trump's demands that could derail Democratic support for a deal: $ 1.4 billion to begin building a wall on the U. S.- Mexico border, $ 18 billion in cuts to domestic programs, stripping funds from Planned Parenthood and allowing states to stop federal grants from going to "sanctuary cities" that protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation.
However, Democrats may support at least some of the approxi- mately $ 30 billion that Trump wants to add for defense programs and combat operations.
The Republican majority needs Democratic votes in both the House and Senate to pass the government funding bill. In the Senate, the GOP has a slim majority of 52 seats in a chamber where 60 votes are required to pass the legislation. In the House, Republican leaders will need help from Democrats because some conservatives will oppose any bill that increases spending.
The U. S. Capitol pictured on March 28, 2017