House leaders are hoping to end the threat of a government shutdown by holding a vote later today on another short-term spending bill to fund the government through Feb. 16.
There is opposition to the bill from both conservative Republicans who are increasingly frustrated about the lack of long-term funding for the military, and Democrats who wanted to include a solution that protects so-called “Dreamers,” the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix.
While there is no DACA fix in the bill, Republicans have included a six-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – which may incentivize some Democrats to back the bill – as well as the delay of two unpopular health-care taxes, the medical device tax and the “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House so if there’s a shutdown, it will be of their own making. “It’s really almost like amateur hour,” she told reporters.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said he is confident Republicans will pass the bill, though Freedom Caucus members have been reluctant to get on board. Ryan’s job of selling the bill has been further complicated by President Trump, who tweeted this morning that he did not want to see CHIP included in the stop-gap spending bill. The White House later issued a statement saying the president will support the GOP-crafted bill.
Absent an agreement, federal agencies would begin shutting down nonessential services at midnight Friday evening.