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Congress passes two-week stopgap to avoid government shutdown

08 December 2017

While GOP leaders and conservatives say they are both eager to avoid a "distraction" that might derail tax reform legislation, they're struggling to reach a truce to avoid a government shutdown.

"We're having a conversation with our members about what we think the best way forward is", he told reporters. The measure also makes money available to several states that are running out of funds for the Children's Health Insurance Program, a widely popular program that provides medical care to more than 8 million children.

The Republican leaders spoke of the need to help young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, but also stressed the importance of addressing border security and other parts of "our broken immigration system". Republicans have said they prefer to deal with DACA separately. At midnight on Friday, the government will have no operating budget; a shutdown is possible.

The measure passed mostly along party lines, 235-193, and would keep the government running through December 22.

Negotiations are sure to be tricky.

Pelosi also told reporters Thursday that lawmakers "will not leave here" without a deal to help immigrants who came to the USA illegally as children and are enrolled in the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump ended three months ago.

The immigrants are viewed sympathetically by the public and most lawmakers but face deportation in a few months because Trump reversed administrative protections provided to them by former President Barack Obama.

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At the start of Thursday's meeting, Trump asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to speak as well, as he joined the congressional leaders gathered at the White House. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday that it is one of the party's priorities.

The group is convening to continue negotiations on critical end-of-year spending legislation, with Democrats and Republicans deeply divided on defence and immigration priorities.

Trump accused the Democratic leaders of being "all talk" and "no action".

"That would be very important to us", said Representative Mark Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest grouping of conservatives in the House.

Pelosi and Schumer, in a joint statement, described the White House meeting as "productive. I'm confident we'll walk out of this with it".

"It's kind of just basic governing, is keeping government going while we negotiate the finer details", Ryan told reporters Thursday morning.

U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending bill one day before a deadline to avoid government shutdown.

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A key House Republican leader acknowledges that some tax cuts in the sweeping tax legislation must expire to comply with Senate budget rules.

"This tax code is pushing American businesses and American jobs overseas", said Speaker Ryan.

The House speaker outlined the bill's legislative process and critiqued the current tax code.

Congress seems set to prevent a weekend government shutdown.

Most analysts say the final version will most likely resemble the Senate's, and have cited a 75 percent chance the bill will be signed by the president this year.

Many on both sides have decided a headline-grabbing federal closure would be a political blunder, at least for now.

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Congress passes two-week stopgap to avoid government shutdown