United States politicians race to avoid government shutdown

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Many Democrats have said they want a deal on the fate of undocumented immigrants whose DACA status is due to expire in March before they support another spending bill.

During his speech on the Senate floor that evening, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that the president is "not irrelevant" under the US system of government, and Republicans still need to know what he wants in a DACA bill. Senate Republican leaders were working through scenarios that could force Democrats up for re-election in 2018 to take politically challenging votes for days after the missed deadline.

And the White House piled on, trying to paint the impending action as the "Schumer shutdown".

What some are calling the "Schumer Shutdown" could be just a few hours away!

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah offered an upbeat prediction earlier Thursday that the government would remain open, despite growing signs on Capitol Hill that GOP leaders did not have the votes for a short-term spending bill. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Jeff Flake of Arizona have indicated they will oppose it.

"I would beg them, don't turn your back on your responsibility right here in Washington to work with us, to try to find a way forward", Durbin said. "It's time Congress stop the cycle of dysfunction, grow up and act consistent with the values of a great nation".

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At least some Democratic votes are needed to pass the budget measure ahead of the Friday midnight deadline. In 2013, conservative Republicans associated with the Tea Party movement triggered a 16-day government shutdown. "This has turned into an s-show for no good reason and the only way out of this thing is to grow up a little bit - and I think that's going to happen". "Let's stay in. Let's get it done".

Democrats add that if the government shuts down, the blame will fall on Republicans - who have unified control of Washington.

"We have reached such heightened levels of party polarization and the inability to compromise that there's no goodwill to pass a budget and make long-term compromises", said Jennifer Lawless, a professor of government at American University in Washington. The Clinton administration would, over time, succeed in refining these proposals as a gutting of the social safety net, but at the time, Democrats were still shellshocked by losing both houses of Congress in the 1994 Republican landslide and had little faith they could win any major fight.

Shutdowns are usually the product of divided government. "Well because there's certain, everyone just understands, that there's a certain percentage of the Republican Party that will never vote for the financing to raise the debt ceiling to allow the government to continue to operate".

The immigration debate was sparked by Trump in September, when he reversed an Obama-era executive order that granted legal protections to the so-called Dreamers, those immigrants who came to the USA illegally as children.

Trump alluded to this in a tweet after his initial, false tweet regarding the funding of the military.

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Citizenship and Immigration Services posted on its website that it would begin accepting DACA renewals until further notice. In another tweet, Trump said DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is probably dead.

The resolution that passed the House on Thursday would extend funding for the government until February 16. The idea is to put pressure on negotiators to then cut deals on immigration, defence spending and non-defence funding by next week.

Adding to the angst was the fact that Graham and Durbin thought they were gaining momentum on their bill this week and were winning over more Republicans only to hear that GOP leaders had convinced several of those Republicans to peel back off. "Ultimately I'm not afraid to walk into this valley with Democrats being the ones to shut it down and see if we can't message the truth here".

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted in support of an even shorter-term bill late Thursday.

Even if no deal is reached in the coming days, D.C. might experience some problems that could benefit from close presidential oversight, like about 800,000 federal workers being furloughed and most government agencies reduced to essential operations only. Tim Kaine, D-Va. "At some point it starts to look like the objective is delay, not to get a deal". "It's long past time for us to do our job". Lawmakers, however, face no such threat. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say dealing with the program should be an extremely or very high priority for Congress, narrowly ahead of the 61% who say the same about passing a long-term funding bill to avoid future shutdowns.

It costs more to shut down the government than to keep it running.

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