The Senate approved a two-week government funding bill on Thursday, sending the measure to the White House and pushing a fight over the U.S.-Mexico border wall up against the holidays.
The Senate passed the continuing resolution by a voice vote hours after it was approved in the House. President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE will need to sign it by the end of the day Friday to prevent a partial government shutdown.
The resolution punts the funding deadline from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21, a week after Congress’s initial get-out-of-town date of Dec. 14.
Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike Crypto debate set to return in force Press: Why is Mo Brooks still in the House? MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said negotiators could solve the funding fight in “15 minutes” if they could get a deal on the wall funding.
Both sides have been stalemated for months on how much money to give the White House for the 2019 fiscal year. The House included $5 billion for the border, including fencing and technology, in its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill, while the Senate included $1.6 billion.
A group of Senate Republicans introduced a bill this week that would give Trump his full request of $25 billion, but that's expected to go nowhere amid pushback from Democrats and some Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.) were expected to meet with Trump this week, but the meeting was postponed due to former President George H.W. Bush’s death.
“[Trump] and Schumer and Pelosi need to sit down and discuss how to resolve the differences,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) said at a Wall Street Journal event this week.
Republicans predict that Trump will veto a spending bill that includes $1.6 billion for the border. Trump has refused to take a partial shutdown off the table, and in a tweet this week argued that the U.S.-Mexico border wall “pays for itself in two months.”
“Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our Country losses 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow. Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!” Trump tweeted.
Republicans are scrambling for ways to meet the White House’s demand for $5 billion. One offer would have secured $2.5 billion in funding for barriers and border security for both 2019 and 2020.
But Democrats rejected that offer, arguing Trump has two options: Accept the $1.6 billion in the Senate bill or accept a continuing resolution just for DHS, which would give the president $1.3 billion for the border.
Schumer argued that Republicans will be to blame if Trump has a “temper tantrum” and Congress is unable to meet the Dec. 21 deadline.
“If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that’s his decision. But there are two sensible options on the table to avoid one,” Schumer said.
Schumer also downplayed that the Senate bill would include funding for the “wall” — something he’s taking heat over from progressive House Democrats, who are pressuring leadership to not lock them into an agreement right before they take back power in January.
“Let me be clear, the $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of President Trump’s 30-foot-tall concrete border wall,” he said. “It can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border and only where the experts say fencing is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature.”