Federal shutdown averted for 2 weeks
Votes buy time for talks on immigration and other tough issues
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.