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Democratic senators kill bill to keep government open after midnight



The bill passed by the House would finance government operations until February 16 and extend the funds for six years for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program, a provision designed to guarantee Democratic votes.

But the Democrats sought concessions on other priorities, such as protecting undocumented youth from deportation, increasing domestic spending, securing disaster aid for Puerto Rico, and strengthening the government's response to the opiate epidemic.

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These Factions in Congress, Divided into & # 39; Dreamers & # 39; could lead for the closure of the government

An agreement to prevent the closure of the federal government depends on the Democratic senators and some Republicans, who want to include protections for young undocumented immigrants.



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Republican House leaders told members Friday night that "imminent votes" were not expected, indicating that after midnight, parts of the government would be closed. The federal agencies were already preparing for that eventuality; On Thursday night, officials from the Office of Management and Budget of the White House ordered the leaders of the federal agencies to informally inform their employees about who would be fired and who would not be fired if the funds expired.

Formal notifications will be delivered on Saturday In the morning, officials from the budget office said, insisting on anonymity to inform journalists about the details of what the White House called "planning and closing operations."

More than one million active duty military personnel served without interruption, they said, but it was not possible to pay until the end of the closure. Agencies like the Department of Energy that have funds that are not subject to annual allocations can use that money to stay open, officials said, and the administration encourages them to do so. Most mandatory programs-rights such as Social Security that are automatically funded instead of being subject to congressional appropriations-can continue without interruption.

Officials said Trump could travel on Air Force One to carry out his constitutional responsibilities, including a planned trip next week to Davos, Switzerland, although it was not clear whether the trips to Mar-a-Lago, his exclusive club in Palm Beach, Florida, to play golf and socialize, like the one I had planned for this weekend, would fall into that category.

The president tried to start the negotiations by inviting Mr. Schumer to meet him in the Oval Office.

"We had a long and detailed meeting," Mr. Schumer said at the Capitol after leaving the White House. "We discuss all the main outstanding issues, we move forward a little, but we still have a number of disagreements, the discussions will continue."

For Friday night, a last-minute congressional agreement to stop an unusual closure of a government Federal control of a party remained difficult.

"Our Democratic colleagues are involved in a dangerous chicken game," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican of the Senate, warned in a speech in the Senate.

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Mr. Trump, who described his session with Mr. Schumer as an "excellent preliminary meeting" in a Twitter post on Friday afternoon did not seem able or willing to suggest his own solution.

Mr. Cornyn said Mr. Trump rejected a proposal by Mr. Schumer to fund the government until Tuesday to allow negotiations to continue.

"The president told him to come back and talk to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and solve it," Mr. Cornyn said, referring to the Speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate. A spokesman for Mr. Schumer, Matt House, said that was not true.

Democratic senators were still hopeful that Trump, burned by the storm caused by his vulgar and racist comments on Africa last week, would be willing to do so. to make concessions.

"It's time for us, Democrats and Republicans, to sit together in a room, think about this great nation and the frustration they have with our political system and with those of us in political life," said Senator Richard. J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said in a speech in the Senate.

Across the country, state and local officials were left scratching their heads at the dysfunction in Washington.

"We are the United States of America," said Governor Matt Mead, Republican governor for two Wyoming terms. he said in an interview on Friday. "We should be able to solve these problems without having to go over the cliff from time to time, either with Republicans or Democrats in power, there certainly has to be a better way."

The Democrats delivered speeches in the Senate in front of a huge sign that read "Trump Shutdown." In the White House, Mr. Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the Trump administration was preparing for "what we call the 'Schumer closure'."

The spirits also vanished in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a moderate in immigration who has been trying to reach an agreement with the Democrats, rubbed elbows with Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas on Friday, taunting him as "the Steve King of the Senate." an interview with MSNBC, reference to the congressman from Iowa who is perhaps the most virulent anti-immigrant voice in Congress.

Mr. Cotton, who has helped to thwart Mr. Graham's efforts, replied by referring to Mr. Graham's failed presidential attempt in 2016.

"The difference between Steve King and Lindsey Graham is that Steve King can really win an election in Iowa," Mr. Cotton told reporters.

Mr. Cotton went on to argue that it was Mr. Trump's views on immigration that drove him to the Republican Party nomination, while Graham was relegated to the "children's table" in the primary debates.

Mr. Trump has canceled plans to travel to his Florida resort on Friday and will remain in Washington until a spending bill is passed, a White House official said Friday morning.

If the Democrats reject the draft bill, the measure would have undeniable risks. Ten Senate Democrats are running for re-election in the states Trump won in 2016, and many of those states, such as Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia, may have little sympathy for one of the main causes of impending closure : Protecting young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

Five of those Democrats filed legislation on Friday to withhold payment from members of Congress during a shutdown. "If the members of Congress can not resolve this and keep the government open, none of us should get paid," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri.

Three of them, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, announced that they would vote for the measure of Republican spending.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky warned that the Senate was "only hours away from a completely avoidable government closure." . "

" This vote should be a truism, "McConnell said," and it would be, except that the Democratic leader has persuaded his members to obstruct any funding bill that does not include the legislation they are demanding for people who they came to the United States illegally. "

The draft bill, which passed the House by a vote of 230 to 197, would keep the government open for a month, provide funds for CHIP, and delay or suspend a handful of taxes. by the Affordable Care Act.

It will take about a dozen, or possibly more, of the Democratic votes in the Senate to approve the measure because some Republican senators are expected to vote no.

The confrontation over immigration dates September, when Mr. Trump moved to end an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which Rotege young immigrants from deportation. Democrats have been eager to devote legal protections to these immigrants.

At the same time, congressional leaders of both parties have been trying to reach an agreement to raise strict limits on domestic and military spending, an agreement that would pave the way for a long-term spending package. So far, in this fiscal year, they have relied on provisional measures to keep the government funded.

On Friday night, it was still unclear how political blame would be shared if the government closed on Saturday, the anniversary of Mr. Trump's inauguration.

"At some point, Congress needs to do better than government solutions for crises, in the short term and bypass difficult problems," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware. "That moment is now."

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