By Kristina Peterson
WASHINGTON -- Congress passed a two-week spending patch on Thursday, all but ensuring the government will avoid a partial shutdown this weekend.
Shortly after the House vote, the Senate passed the measure on a voice vote extending the government's funding through Dec. 21. President Trump has said he would sign the short-term extension.
Seven spending bills are currently set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, as lawmakers face an impasse over whether to increase funding for border security. Mr. Trump has demanded $5 billion to build a wall along the border with Mexico, but Democrats have balked.
Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) have said they would be willing to pass the six less-controversial spending bills and extend current funding for the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border wall, for one year.
"What we can do that makes sense is to pass the six bills where the members of the Appropriations Committee have come to terms," Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday, adding that the House should then pass a one-year extension for the Homeland Security bill. "That's pretty much where our position is now."
But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) said a one-year extension of Homeland Security funding wouldn't be acceptable to the White House.
"I don't think that's acceptable and I can't imagine the president will accept that," Mr. Cornyn told reporters on Thursday. "I know Sen. Schumer is having a little difficulty with his conference."
The last sweeping spending bill, which passed in March, included funding for new fencing and levee walls, as well as technology, but prohibited the administration from building a solid concrete border wall.
The negotiations over the border funding have caused tension among some Democrats. Mr. Schumer has said that Senate Democrats support the $1.6 billion for border security included in a bipartisan Senate bill. But some House Democrats have worried that Democratic leaders may end up agreeing to some wall funding during the negotiations. Both Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi have said they are opposed to funding for a physical wall.
--Andrew Duehren and
contributed to this article.
Write to Kristina Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 06, 2018 13:24 ET (18:24 GMT)
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