Updated, 4:52 pm.: Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a draft spending bill 235-193 on Thursday that would prevent the government from closing for another two weeks, surpassing Conservative objections that threatened to block the measure.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be approved before federal funds run out at midnight on Friday.
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Republic of the Congress seems certain that they will avoid the government's closure on Friday. But Republican leaders on both sides of the Capitol will face turbulent next weeks as they try to reach a broader budget deal with Democrats by the end of the year.
In the House, Republican Party leaders believe they have the votes to approve a short-term funding measure Thursday afternoon to keep the federal government open until December 22. Senate leaders aim to clear the patch quickly after the House votes and maintain focus on tax reform.
But the biggest obstacles are yet to come. Republicans know they need Democrats to approve a broader spending agreement to finance the government until 2018, and Democrats are flexing their muscles and making significant political demands for their votes. House minority Nancy Pelosi reiterated at a press conference Thursday that she wants deportation relief for Dreamers as part of the negotiations.
"We will not leave here without a DACA solution," said the California Democrat.
President Donald Trump is meeting with the "Big Four" leaders of Congress – President Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pelosi and minority leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer – in the White House Thursday afternoon in an attempt to start negotiations on a two-year budget agreement.
The shutdown occurs when Republican leaders and the White House press to finish work on a tax reduction plan of more than a trillion dollars that the writers of the House and the Senate impose. Ryan and McConnell hope to buy enough time in the speaking budget to complete the work on the tax bill, all while appeasing their hawks of defense and hard-line conservatives at the House Freedom Caucus. And that's not to mention the Democratic demands of an agreement to help hundreds of thousands of Dreamers face possible deportation next year, as well as a host of other controversial policy issues.
A budget agreement, which would raise the levels of both defense and defense spending, has eluded Congress and the White House so far, as the two parties are far apart on a number of policy issues, including the general financing objectives. Democrats want parity for any momentum in defense and non-defense spending, while Republicans want to see the Pentagon get most of any spending increase. The fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects undocumented immigrant youth is also a key issue. Staff-level conversations have produced advances in several areas, however, sources involved in the discussions say it's time for directors, Trump and party leaders, to see if they can reach a compromise.
With government funding running out on Friday, the White House approved the two-week spending bill in a statement on Wednesday night, another sign that Congress should avoid a shutdown at the end of the week. However, the Trump administration reiterated its position that military and national security financing – including a border wall – "should be prioritized" in any broader spending package.
A senior administration official said Trump's main thrust when meeting with the Big Four would keep DACA out of the budget agreement, increase defense spending without increasing non-defense funding, and get Democrats they will accept allowing their controversial border wall project.
That, say the Democrats, is a dream of the White House. During a speech on Thursday in the courtroom, Schumer said Trump and the Republicans should be open to real negotiations to reach a budget settlement, adding that the Republican Party would pay politically if a shutdown occurs.
Congress negotiators are moving forward on a budget agreement that would fulfill our commitments to our military priorities and also urgent here at home, "Schumer said in his speech on Thursday.
" Unfortunately, the progress here in Congress is obvious contrast to the rhetoric coming from the White House. President Trump again suggested yesterday that "a closure could occur." If a shutdown occurs, as the president seemed to be encouraging in a tweet earlier this year, it will fall on his shoulders. His party controls the Senate, the House of Representatives and the presidency. "
But first, the Republicans will have to put the 217 votes to keep the government open on Thursday, it's not an easy feat for a conference populated with conservatives that rarely vote for expenses
That's why Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders spent much of Wednesday huddled with hard-line conservatives unhappy with the leadership plan to avoid a McCarthy even brought McConnell to talk with frustrated members of the base complaining about the strategy at one point.
On Thursday morning, however, Republican House leaders were predicting that the resolution would continue, even without the Democratic votes.
Jennifer Scholtes and Nancy Cook contributed to this report.