Stark retreat for Republicans on spending, Trump's wall

by Garry Watts December 20, 2018, 0:30
Stark retreat for Republicans on spending, Trump's wall

Trump has still not indicated if he will compromise with lawmakers to keep the government operating.

If an agreement isn't reached between the president and lawmakers by Friday, Congress can pass an emergency continuing resolution to keep all federal agencies up and running.

The swift pace in Congress came after Trump moved off his demand.

On Twitter, Trump appeared to respond to criticism that he was retreating. "One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!".

Should a short-term resolution be reached, the border funding fight would be punted to the new year and the next Congress, which could prove even more hard for Trump with a Democratic-led House.

"In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but when it comes to Border Security and the Military, the Democrats fight to the death", Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of NY, who will take over as Appropriations Committee chairwoman, said she was disappointed that Trump and the Republican Congress "couldn't even complete their final task of funding the government" and instead chose to "kick the can down the road for a third time".

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Democrats and many Republicans have challenged the wisdom of giving Trump $5 billion this year to build a wall - which carries an estimated $24 billion price tag - that they argue would be less effective in securing the border than building on a mix of tools already in place.

On Wednesday, McConnell attacked Democrats for rejecting it, saying, "It seems like political spite for the president may be winning out over sensible policy". McConnell said a stopgap measure could be approved, though he suggested that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to become House speaker when the Democrats take control January 3, would not want to saddle the new year with a budget brawl.

"The CR to keep the government going till February 8is what they're looking at now", she said, "but that does not change whatsoever two important facts: one that this president believes his first and solemn duty is to keep us safe and that includes enhanced border security, keep all this poison, all these drugs flowing over our southern border and people who are risking their lives and coming here illegally".

More than 800,000 government workers are facing the prospect of being furloughed or sent to work without pay beginning at midnight Friday, disrupting government operations days before Christmas. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

Just last week, Trump said he would be "proud" to shut the government down over the wall.

Sanders added that there are "a number of different funding sources that we've identified that we can use that we can couple with the money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our borders".

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