Two familiar phrases are back in the news this week, and this time they're related: "government shutdown" and "border wall." Congress has until Friday to pass a budget and avoid a government shutdown, and one big sticking point is the White House's renewed push for money for President Trump's promised wall on the Mexican border. Here's a look at what's happening on the shutdown front:
- First things first: NBC News reports that it's likely Congress will punt by passing a short-term spending bill that will give them a week or two to hammer out a longer-term deal.
- The wall is suddenly a big priority again: The White House is pressuring congressional Republicans to insist on money for it in any spending plan, reports the Washington Post. But Democrats remain adamant against the idea, and Republicans such as Marco Rubio say they don't think the issue is worth a shutdown.
- The White House has offered Democrats a deal: $1 in crucial ObamaCare subsidies for every $1 in border wall money, reports Politico. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer likened it to a "hostage" deal and called the proposal a nonstarter.
- Trump himself is weighing in: "The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members," he tweeted.
- A post at the American Spectator thinks a shutdown would work in Trump's favor. In previous shutdowns, presidents Clinton and Obama picked which programs would get shut down with the goal of making Republicans look bad. "But when Trump gets to pick what gets cut, it’ll be a different story—one of the 'swamp' vs. Trump, and he’ll win that one."
- But a shutdown would come just ahead of Trump's 100th day in office on Saturday, with his party in control of both houses of Congress. Forcing a shutdown over the border wall, which doesn't have widespread public support, would be "really masochistic," an American University prof tells Newsweek.
- Another sticking point in talks: Lawmakers from big coal states want a long-term fix to a dispute over health benefits for retired miners, reports the New York Times.
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