Congress Scrambles to Avoid Government Shutdown Friday

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, days before a budget clash could produce a partial government shutdown by the weekend unless there's an agreement on a measure temporarily keeping agencies open. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have scheduled a meeting to sort out their …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Congress continues to scramble to pass a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown on Friday.

After passing historic tax reform legislation on Wednesday, Congress started a two-day scramble to pass a stop-gap spending bill that would avert a government shutdown on Friday.

Republican leaders are “inching closer” to the 217 votes to have a stop-gap bill and hurricane relief aid package pass through the House on Thursday. The short-term spending bill would fund the government through January 19, although the spending bill received criticism from conservatives and defense hawks who want to see defense spending included in the bill.

Conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus want to keep the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) three-week reauthorization out of the spending bill.

“We need to keep FISA off the bill,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a former Freedom Caucus chairman, argued.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) told CNN he believes the Republican conference does not have the energy to take on a government shutdown after expending so much political capital to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“I don’t think that our conference, given the victory we’ve just taken on tax, will risk a shutdown,” Womack argued.

House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows suggested on Thursday that he and the Republicans continue to come close to a compromise that can pass through the House.

“I don’t see a shutdown happening. We were negotiating into the late hours,” Meadows revealed.

Rep. Hal Rogers, a former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said, “ I think the speaker’s plan gives us the best chance to reach our long-term goals, given the Senate’s parameters, to finally get defense spending where we want to be in the budget cap talks.”

President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that Democrats want to shut down the government to distract from Republicans’ passing their historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this week.

Trump tweeted, “House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!”: