WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders are racing against a deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown. The stalemate is once again about funding for the border wall.
- Govt. funding deadline is December 21
- President Trump will not budge on border wall funding
- Republicans need Democrats in Senate to pass a deal
Members put off the fight last week, when they voted on a two-week stopgap measure so they could spend time honoring President George H.W. Bush. However, time is running out.
“I’m going to be hopeful that there’s some deal," said Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples.
Lawmakers have just days left to fund portions of the federal government and President Trump's border wall once again is a key point of contention.
The president continues to push for $5 billion for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans like Rep. Rooney are on board.
“There’s some areas where more wall would help, there’s no doubt about it," he said.
Many Democrats are opposed to that figure.
“Obviously, the president is not being logical by trying to shut down the government for a medieval border wall that won’t even work," said Rep. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee.
Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi will meet with the president in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss the funding fight.
However, some are not optimistic, even though Republicans have control of both chambers until the end of the year.
“They have had the majority for almost two years in both chambers and yet, no wall has emerged," Soto said.
In talks behind the scenes, several proposals have been floated -- including spreading the $5 billion between fiscal year 2019 and 2020, or even providing additional funding allotted for 2020 in advance, but Republicans believe ultimately the president isn’t likely to budge.
“Somewhere between the $5 billion or near enough that the president will accept it so we don’t shut the government down," Rooney said.
Congress still needs to approve funding for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, in addition to several smaller agencies.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the American people don’t like it when the government gets shut down," Rep. Rooney said.
While Republicans in the House could round up enough votes to pass a deal on their own, the Senate will need at least a handful of Democrats to pass anything, which could give Schumer more leverage in these funding talks.