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Trump tweets create confusion for Republicans trying to avoid government shutdown

Congressional Republicans tried to make sense on Thursday of President Trump's morning tweets on immigration and child health, while the GOP tried to rally votes for a short-term bill and prevent the government from closing at midnight Friday

With less than 48 hours before a possible closure, Trump on Twitter seemed to directly contradict the legislative strategy of Republicans in Congress by calling for the separation of a long-term extension of a popular children's health insurance program from a Short-term spending bill to keep the government open until mid-February. While some Republicans suggested that the president was backing the Republican Party's approach, albeit carelessly, others found the tweets inexplicable and useless.

"We do not have a reliable partner in the White House to negotiate with," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) as he entered the Capitol.

"This has become an s-show for no good reason, and the only way out of this is to grow a bit, and I think that's going to happen," he said.

Republicans The goal is to force the Democrats into the uncomfortable position of choosing between funding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and their effort to obtain legal protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth.

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is now at risk of becoming the latest victim of Washington's dysfunction, if lawmakers do not act. (Joyce Koh / The Washington Post)

Republicans in the House of Representatives expected to vote as soon as Thursday on the short-term spending bill with the attached health insurance program. Changing the bill could delay your consideration.

In a series of tweets before 9 a.m., Trump blamed the Democrats for a possible closure.

"CHIP should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30-day or short-term extension," Trump tweeted.

"The closure of the government will be devastating for our military … something that the Democrats care very little!", He wrote.

If the government closes, it will be the first time under the unified control of the Congress party and the White House. The White House approved the short-term financing bill on Wednesday.

Early on Thursday, some Republicans said their patience with the president was running low.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) He said that the level of support in the House for the short-term bill is unclear and that extending CHIP would help avoid closure.

"Many House Republicans want a six-year extension, it's important to us," he said. "That's just another one of those unexplainable tweets that is not very useful."

Another Republican, Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina, said he was not sure how he would vote on the proposal.

"It seems to be a work in progress, nobody has fully defined what will come next," he said.

Told of Trump's tweets, Sanford said: "It's fluid, the other way around, whatever you prefer."

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) Did not comment on Trump's tweets or a possible closure at an early Thursday appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The last shutdown occurred in 2013 and lasted 16 days, when the Republicans tried unsuccessfully to force changes in the Law of Affordable Assistance.

National parks and monuments have become a symbol of past closures, and the Trump administration is developing plans to keep them open despite the closure as a means to mitigate public anger.

The prospects for the passage of the spending bill in the Senate were risky. Several Democrats who approved short-term spending extensions announced Wednesday they would vote "no" this time. They were under intense pressure from activists to stand firm in the demands of a solution for undocumented immigrants known as "dreamers" who face the loss of protections against deportation that were taken by the Trump administration.

"President Trump and the Republicans can choose: They can sit down at the table and negotiate in good faith a responsible financing and protection agreement for the dreamers, or they can cause the government to close down," said Senator Tom Udall ( DN.M.), one of those Democrats.

In the House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (RN.C.) came out of an evening meeting with Deputy Chief Whip Patrick T. McHenry (RN.C.) saying that he had not won and that the short-term spending bill that was expected to reach the courtroom on Thursday was still insufficient.

"We are making good progress, but even at this point, if the vote were today, there is no vote to fund it with Republican votes only," Meadows said. His group is pushing for more defense spending, among other things.

The desertions left the perspective uncertain, leaving open the possibility that the government will close on Friday at midnight for the first time since 2013. The Republican leaders in both houses insisted that the results would be avoided, and the members of the House in the vote count The team expressed its cautious optimism that they could gather the necessary support in time for Thursday's vote.

As negotiations on both sides of the Capitol continued, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly expressed optimism that Congress would resolve an agreement to protect dreamers.

"The DACA agreement will be resolved, I believe, by the United States Congress," Kelly told reporters on Capitol Hill. "Both sides of the corridor agreed to meet in a smaller group and present [what] that they believe is the best DACA agreement, and then, of course, it will be presented to the president." DACA refers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

Later, the White House expressed its support for the one-month spending bill scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday, and the link to the Congress Marc Short said he was optimistic that it would be approved. But Graham complicated the perspective of the Republican Party in the Senate, saying he had informed the leaders that he would oppose the law.

"I'm tired," Graham told reporters. "This is the fourth we've done, and you're killing the military."

Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said there is a "good chance" that the bill will pass in the upper chamber. "We will address it as soon as it comes from the Chamber," he said.

The bill would keep the government open until February 16, while it extends CHIP and reduces several taxes in the Affordable Care Act. Many members of the base reluctantly accepted the plan on Wednesday.

"What other option do we have this week?" Asked Representative Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). "I certainly will not vote to close the government, that's irresponsible."

The proposal for a short-term spending measure underlined Washington's current stalemate on the status of dreamers. Many Democrats are expected to oppose the bill in the absence of an agreement to resolve the conflict.

"It does not provide the necessary protection for dreamers," said Senate minority leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.). "The Democrats have been negotiating in good faith … On the other hand, the Republicans and the president seem determined to follow a policy of intransigence."

In the House of Representatives, passing short-term spending legislation will require the votes of the Caucus of Liberty, whose members have scuttled past bills by denying their support. The group has not officially opposed the measure, but several members said they want it to provide longer-term funds for the military.

If Republican leaders can stifle dissent between hawks of defense and deficit and pass the measure with only Republican votes, Democrats will lose the influence that They planned to exercise on behalf of the dreamers during the current round of negotiations.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), A member of the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives who wants to see an increase in defense spending, said it was "inconceivable" that Democratic funds would use military funding as a political football. But she suggested that a closure would only play in her hands.

"They just worry about scoring political points, and we should not let them do it," he said.

Annual military spending is a no-start for Democrats who want a corresponding increase in non-defensive spending. And in the absence of a bipartisan budget agreement, the levels of military spending that Republicans favor would force widespread spending cuts under a 2011 budget law.

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