Congress Likely To Avoid Government Shutdown (At Least For Another Week)

Now that Donald Trump has dropped demands on border-wall funding and health care, negotiators on Capitol Hill look back on track to fund the government until they work out other sticking points.

A student from Wisconsin takes a break in front of the Capitol Wednesday. Republican and Democratic negotiators appear ready to pass a one-week funding measure to keep the government open.

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey would and put off the deadline to May 5th.

“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon,” Frelinghuysen said. “It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities — including national defense — are properly and adequately funded for the year.”

Republican Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran of Mississippi said, “We’ve made substantial progress on an agreement to complete the 2017 appropriations process. Let’s pass this new continuing resolution, and make good use of this extra time to enact overdue legislation to provide for national defense and meet our country’s needs.”

The bill still has to pass both chambers by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown. But the progress comes as President Trump threatened to derail negotiations with last-minute demands. Earlier this week, the president tweeted about border-wall funding, military spending and cutting off subsidies for the Affordable Care Act.

In reality, border funding and Obamacare subsidies would be big fights on their own, let alone jammed into a spending bill to keep the lights on in the government, because Congress has been unable to pass a budget.

The Trump White House floated trying to swap, dollar-for-dollar, border funding for Obamacare subsidies. That was a nonstarter with Democrats, especially given what little leverage in public opinion they see for Republicans. Both the GOP health-care proposal and the border wall have been unpopular.

There are also complications within the GOP. Plenty of border-area Republicans are against a wall, and moderates are in favor of administering Obamacare in a good-faith way.

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