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04-21-2017, 04:22 AM #1
Lawmakers worry President Trump's need for win may hurt efforts to avoid government s
Lawmakers worry President Trump's need for win may hurt efforts to avoid government shutdown
Friday, April 21, 2017, 4:00 AM
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers think they can avoid a government shutdown that would start the day before President Trump's 100th day in office - if the White House can stay out of the way and let them strike a deal.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been negotiating for weeks to find an agreement to keep the lights on in the federal government, and think they're making steady headway with one week until next Friday's deadline.
But negotiators in both parties are increasingly concerned that the White House is looking at the package as its last hope for a big legislative win as Trump closes in on 100 days in office — and worry that could scuttle a deal as White House officials dig in their heels on demands for more border security funds and money to begin building the wall that Republicans were ready to drop.
"They need to get a win, it appears," Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), a member of House Democratic leadership, told the Daily News on Thursday.
"Now that we're getting closer to it we're seeing some more opposition [from the White House] to what's coming… it just depends on how much they're willing to live with and what they want to fight over," said a Capitol Hill Republican familiar with the negotiations. "There's going to be plenty in here that the White House can claim victory on. I don't know if they want to make it more dramatic than it needs to be or not."
Democrats warn that they won't give Trump what he wants on the wall and continue to demand a "clean" bill that doesn't add new policy priorities.
"If the President doesn't interfere, insist on poison pill amendments to be shoved down the throat of the Congress, we can come up with an agreement," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The News this week, warning that "A shutdown will fall on their shoulders" if the White House stymies a deal.
Lawmakers in both parties worry the more involved Trump gets the more likely it is that the negotiations could collapse. Republicans control Congress but need substantial Democratic support on the bill, as a number of conservatives are likely to defect in the House and at least eight Senate Democrats will be needed to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.
Administration officials have been involved in the process from the start, with Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney taking part in negotiations, but sources say they've taken a more hands-off approach and let lawmakers negotiate things themselves. Trump's demands for money in the package to start building a border wall and ramp up funding for border security are a non-starter with many Democrats.
Trump made it clear on Thursday that he doesn't want to shut down the government — but didn't say what he's ready to let go to keep the lights on.
"As far as keeping the government open, I think we want to get the government open. Don't you agree?" he said during a press conference at the White House alongside Italy's prime minister.
The White House is refusing to publicly comment on where negotiations are — while signaling it's not ready to back away from requests for initial funds to build a border wall.
White House pushes uncertain bid to revive health care bill
Mulvaney told The Associated Press in an interview "elections have consequences" and that "we want wall funding" as part of the catchall spending bill, which lawmakers hope to unveil next week.
He said the administration delivered an offer to negotiators Wednesday night, with funding for the border wall a top demand. Other items on the White House priority list, Mulvaney said, are a $30 billion request for a cash infusion for the military and a controversial provision to give the administration greater latitude to deny certain federal grants to "sanctuary cities" that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.
While Democrats privately signal they're ready to give in on some more funds for the military in exchange for funds necessary to keep Obamacare functioning, they warn that the wall is a non-starter. And they're concerned that Trump might scuttle a deal they could otherwise reach.
“The risk they run here is not only do they have nothing to show for it, it'll be an incredible negative burden for the American people if on the day of his 100th day of the presidency they actually shut the government down," said Crowley. "That's not an accomplishment."
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