President Donald Trump signed a two-week funding bill on Dec. 8, preventing a government shutdown hours before the deadline.
The stopgap legislation will maintain current funding for federal operations and keep the government open through Dec. 22, while lawmakers continue to negotiate on a long-term budget deal.
The short-term funding measure known as a continuing resolution (CR) passed both the House and the Senate on Dec. 7 and was sent to the president’s desk. It is an extension of the CR that has been in place for several months and was due to run out on Dec. 8 at midnight.
The House approved the measure on a 235-193 vote and the Senate passed it by 81-14.
Before the voting, Trump met with both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders in the Oval Office on Dec 7.
“We’re all here as a very friendly, well-unified group,” he said during the meeting. “It’s a well-knit-together group of people. And we hope that we’re going to make some great progress for our country.”
The CR will allow additional time for House and Senate leadership to negotiate on overall topline spending levels for the 2018 fiscal year.
“We hope we can come to an agreement,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer during the meeting. “Funding the government is extremely important, helping our soldiers is very important, and helping average citizens is very important,” he said.
Democrats demand parity on defense and nondefense discretionary spending increases above the statutory caps.
In addition, they are pushing for a legislative solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before the end of the year, which is a significant hurdle in the budget talks.
President Barack Obama introduced DACA through an executive order in 2012 as a temporary measure that gave people renewable, two-year work authorization and deportation immunity. It involved nearly 800,000 individuals—referred to as Dreamers—who entered the United States illegally as children.
The White House, however, wants to keep DACA and immigration talks out of the budget deal.
In return for granting some type of legal status to the DACA recipients, Trump earlier outlined his priorities for border security and immigration reform.
The President “wants to make sure that we have responsible immigration reform, including a border wall and other things that we’ve laid out in those priorities and those principles,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Dec. 7.
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her stance on DACA during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Dec 7.
“We will not leave here without a DACA fix,” she said.
In addition to DACA, other budget priorities of Democrats include fighting the opioid epidemic, veterans funding, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, emergency disaster funding, and saving endangered pensions.
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