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Congress passes short-term spending bill, avoids shutdown

By Daniel Uria
Congress passes short-term spending bill, avoids shutdown
Congress passed a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government open through December 22 on Thursday after House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders met to discuss a two-year budget deal. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Congress passed a short-term spending bill Thursday to prevent a government shutdown, as Republicans attempt to reach a budget bill with Democrats by the end of the year.

Senators approved the bill by a vote of 81-14 an hour after the House passed it on a vote of 235-193, keeping the federal government open through Dec. 22

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"A vote against this resolution is a vote to shut down the government," Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said, while admitting a short-term funding measure isn't ideal.

President Donald Trump met with Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Republican leader Chuck Schumer of New York in hopes of pushing forward negotiations on a two-year budget deal.

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Pelosi and other Democrats have stressed including deportation relief for Dreamers -- recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- in the negotiations.

"We will not leave here without a DACA fix," she said.

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Trump was expected to encourage congressional leaders to keep DACA out of budget negotiations while also pushing to increase defense spending without boosting non-defense funding, and convince Democrats to agree to his border wall.

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"We hope that we're going to make some great progress for our country. I think that will happen," Trump said.

Florida Republican Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said they would vote against any year-end spending deal not including an immigration deal.

Schumer said those demands were unlikely and a shutdown would reflect poorly on Trump and Republicans.

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"Congressional negotiators are making good headway on a budget deal that would meet our commitments to our military and also urgent priorities here at home," Schumer said. "Unfortunately, the progress here in Congress is in stark contrast to the rhetoric coming from the White House. President Trump again suggested yesterday that 'a shutdown could happen.' If a shutdown happens, as the president seemed to be rooting for in a tweet earlier this year, it will fall on his shoulders. His party controls the Senate, the House, and the presidency."

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