AP

Senate approves bill to keep government running into 2019

Dec 20, 2018, 5:44 AM | Updated: 5:55 am

congressional...

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate approved legislation Wednesday to temporarily fund the government, a key step toward averting a federal shutdown after President Donald Trump backed off his demand for money for a border wall with Mexico.

Senators passed the measure, which would keep the government running to Feb. 8, by voice vote without a roll call. The House is also expected to move before Friday’s deadline when funding for a portion of the government expires. Without resolution, more than 800,000 federal workers would face furloughs or be forced to work without pay, disrupting government operations days before Christmas.

While the White House indicated Trump was open to reviewing whatever Congress could pass, the president did not immediately weigh in on the short-term plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will remain in session Thursday. “We have to see what the House does,” he said.

Many of Trump’s supporters were frustrated that he appeared to retreat on his shutdown threats after promising a fight over the wall, which had been central to his presidential campaign. Just last week Trump said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over his demand for $5 billion for the wall. Some allies described the move as caving on his pledge, expressing concern that it could hurt Trump’s 2020 prospects.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Trump’s political base “will just go crazy” if he signs a bill without wall funding. He warned it will be tougher to win the money next year when Democrats control the House. He said supporters of the president “believe it’s a promise that he’s been telling them that he will keep.”

On Twitter, Trump appeared to respond to criticism by insisting that “one way or the other, we will win on the Wall!”
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway also faced tough questioning on “Fox & Friends,” the morning show known to be one of Trump’s favorites. Host Brian Kilmeade said Wednesday that Trump has “no leverage,” while Ainsley Earhardt asked why Trump was “softening” his position.

“The president is not softening his stance,” Conway said. “He has a responsibility to keep the government moving forward, and he has a responsibility to get border security.”

McConnell, though, portrayed the short-term spending measure as a “simple” bill that would show that Republicans, who control Congress now, will finish the year by not prolonging a potential crisis.

“Republicans will continue to fill our duty to govern,” he said.

Voting was delayed until late Wednesday as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, mostly from the West, pushed a package that would reauthorize a popular Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired Sept. 30, and add other measures addressing public lands. Unable to reach agreement, they postponed action as talks continued.

At one point late in the late evening, senators broke out in a round of Christmas carols from a corner of the chamber. A few moments later, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., gaveled a procedural vote closed by suggesting “Rudolph” had voted present.
It was unclear how many House members would return to Washington for votes after Republicans lost the majority in the midterm election. Some 70 members missed Wednesday’s session, almost as many Democrats as Republicans.

With many House Republicans sour on the spending package, passage could depend on Democrats.

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, who is on track to become speaker when Democrats take control Jan. 3, signaled support for ensuring funding.

Should the legislation become law, the border money fight would drag into the next Congress, which could prove even more difficult for Trump.

Pelosi will probably be able to quickly win approval of a longer-term measure to keep the government running in 2019.

“Democrats will be ready to fully, responsibly fund our government in January,” Pelosi said in a statement.

As some Republicans grumbled that Trump caved, McConnell lashed out at Democrats for failing to give Trump any of the $5 billion that he wanted for the wall. The bill keeps funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, for border security and fencing, but not for the wall.

“This seems to be the reality of our political moment,” McConnell said. “It seems like political spite for the president may be winning out over sensible policy.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Democrats oppose Trump’s border demands because the wall is “inefficient” and because Trump, as a candidate, promised that Mexico would pay for it, which Mexico has refused to do.

“We want smart, effective border security,” Schumer said. “That’s not a wall.”

But the White House showed its willingness to budge as it became apparent the president did not have support in Congress for paying for the wall.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated earlier this week that Trump did not want to shut down the government. She said the administration was looking at ways to find the money elsewhere, though that was uncertain because it would also likely need congressional approval.

Congress did pass legislation to fund much of the government through the current budget year, until next Oct. 1.

At issue is money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

The stopgap measure would approve government funding at existing levels for those departments, without a boost for the border. It would include a temporary extension of a national flood insurance program, the Violence Against Women Act and other measures.

Several lawmakers have complained that the appropriations process continues to be tangled in partisan politics. Top appropriators had tried to improve the process this year by passing bipartisan bills that would have funded those agencies, as they hoped to stem the cycle of shutdown crises. They lamented having to abandon those efforts for the temporary measure.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said they “worked a long time” on the bills, but hope “evaporated” as the shutdown risk deepened.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are covered for the year and would continue to operate as usual. The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, would not be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.
___
Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

FILE - A branch office of Capital One Bank is pictured on May 7, 2009, in New York.  Capital One Fi...

KEN SWEET AP Business Writer

Capital One to buy Discover for $35 billion in deal that combines major US credit card companies

Capital One Financial is buying Discover Financial Services for $35 billion, in a deal that would bring together two of the nation's biggest lenders and credit card issuers.

10 hours ago

An open-air double decker sightseeing bus stops on the slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking the ci...

GERALD IMRAY Associated Press

A ship carrying 19,000 cattle caused a big stink in the South African city of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — What stinks? Authorities in Cape Town launched an investigation Monday after a foul stench swept over the South African city. City officials inspected sewage facilities for leaks, and an environmental health team was activated before the source of the smell was discovered: a ship docked in the harbor carrying […]

14 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

3 days ago

The likeness of George Washington is seen on a U.S. $1 bill, March 13, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa...

BEN FINLEY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Presidents Day: From George Washington’s modest birthdays to big sales and 3-day weekends

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Like the other Founding Fathers, George Washington was uneasy about the idea of publicly celebrating his life. He was the first leader of a new republic — not a tyrant. And yet the nation will once again commemorate the first U.S. president on Monday, 292 years after he was born. The […]

3 days ago

former president trump shown, his fraud case just ended...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

Donald Trump fraud verdict: $364 million penalty in civil fraud case

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers had said even before the verdict that they would appeal.

4 days ago

Motorists drive past a sign outside a branch of Wells Fargo bank, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Dea...

KEN SWEET AP Business Writer

US eases restrictions on Wells Fargo after years of strict oversight following scandal

The news sent Wells Fargo's stock up sharply Thursday as investors speculated that the bank may be able to rebuild its reputation.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Senate approves bill to keep government running into 2019