Lawmakers Jockey to Avoid Christmastime Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON (CN) – As the clash over border-wall funding threatens to end in a holly jolly government shutdown, lawmakers have put forward a short-term spending bill that will delay the fight until just before Christmas.

Introduced Monday by House Republicans, the stopgap funding measure would keep the government funded at current levels until Dec. 21. Without the legislation, portions of the government would run out of money by the end of the week.

As Washington prepares to honor the late President George H.W. Bush, however, House leadership has announced lawmakers will not take any votes this week. Nevertheless the House is expected to pass the measure by voice vote, with the Senate set to take a similar tack.

The legislative patch will also delay a fight over whether Congress’ final spending agreement will include funding for President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall along the southern border. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has held firm to his position that Democrats will not bow to Trump’s insistence that any spending agreement should give the administration more money to fund the wall.

Trump meanwhile showed no sign of bending.

“Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our country losses 250 billion dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Top border security, including a wall, is $25 billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!”

But the fight over the spending package will have to wait until later in the week as Bush’s passing this weekend has brought the city to a standstill.

With the 41st president set lie in state in the Capitol on Tuesday ahead of a Wednesday morning funeral at The National Cathedral, federal agencies, Congress and even the Supreme Court have pushed back their business in honor of Bush.

Several House panels were scheduled to hold hearings on Wednesday, but those meetings have all been delayed. Senate panels have done the same, with Senate leadership also pushing back to Wednesday afternoon the typical Monday night vote that welcomes senators back to Washington each week.

Executive agencies have similarly shut down their operations and the Supreme Court moved to Thursday an oral argument it had scheduled for Wednesday morning. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the D.C. Circuit and the Federal Circuit will all be closed on Wednesday as well.

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