Con­gres­sional lead­ers look for a deal with shut­down loom­ing

Scram­ble is on to keep money flow­ing

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Erin Kelly Con­tribut­ing: Ni­cole Gau­di­ano and Herb Jack­son

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

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