Conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus asked House Republican leaders to extend the duration of the stopgap measure through December 30 in exchange for their votes for the House to go to conference with the Senate on tax legislation, which moved Congress closer to a final bill for a major tax overhaul. "And we want people to coming into our country, but we want them to come on our basis". Complicating the search for a pact are disputes over immigration, health and other issues folded into the year-end mix. They want voters riveted on the party's almost $1.5 trillion tax bill, the paramount priority for them and Trump. They also have no interest in a shutdown that would raise questions about their ability to govern.
But Republicans have said they will not include a fix for DACA in the spending bill, arguing the issue should be handled separately. They know they'd still have leverage on subsequent bills needed to keep the government running.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have scheduled a summit to begin sorting out their budget differences, top lawmakers and the White House said Monday, as a clash that could produce a partial government shutdown by the weekend hung in the balance. He blamed Democrats, saying they want "illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime".
President Donald Trump escalated the conflict and implied the possibility of a shutdown when he tweeted about Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi last week, accusing them of obstructing a budget in order to push for immigration reform, which he claimed would result in "flooding our Country" with "illegal immigrants".
Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Monday, "We hope the president will go into this meeting with an open mind, rather than deciding that an agreement can't be reached beforehand".
Pelosi and Schumer backed out of a similar meeting last week after Trump tweeted that he did not "see a deal" with Democrats on spending. They don't like the idea of building a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. Both sides say they want to provide money for a health insurance program that serves more than 8 million children and for states battered by recent storms. While many Democrats also support bolstering defense, they insist on raising spending on non-defense programs too. They are looking to protect the Dreamers, who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump ended safeguards against deportation three months ago but has expressed an openness to restoring them.
In any other time, a looming government shutdown would (and has) dominated news coverage for weeks leading up to the deadline for congressional action to keep the federal government open and functioning. Democrats have leverage because a bill needs 60 votes in the Senate to pass.
The roughly 30-member caucus has been trying to win promises from leaders of spending curbs and quick passage of a full-year defense budget in exchange for backing the short-term bill.
Moreover, the budget impasse problem actually lies not with Democrats but at the heart of the ongoing rift in the Republican party.
AP reporter Ken Thomas contributed.