Government shutdown could happen Saturday

President Donald Trump speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House Thursday Dec. 7 2017 in Washington

Trump warns of government shutdown threat ahead of meeting with lawmakers

House Republicans are moving ahead with a plan to avoid a Saturday U.S. government shutdown by passing a two-week stopgap spending measure, overriding conservative GOP lawmakers who were pressing for a longer extension to get more leverage over Democrats and the Senate.

A key member of the House Freedom Caucus says there's a "zero" chance that the government shuts down amid divisions over a funding bill. While many Democrats also support bolstering defense, they insist on raising spending on non-defense programs too.

There seemed to be little taste by most in either party, at least for now, to shutter agency doors with 2018 midterm elections for control of Congress coming into view. And the dynamics could even flip the conventional wisdom that the party controlling the federal government will get blamed for a shutdown, particularly since Donald Trump is nearly certainly spoiling for a fight. (A September poll from Morning Consult showed that only 15 percent of Americans - and only 24 percent of Republicans - want to deport Dreamers.) Actually being willing to shut down the government by denying Republicans votes for a spending bill (they need at least eight Senate Democratic votes to overcome a filibuster, and perhaps some House Democratic votes to offset defections from conservatives who oppose almost every spending measure) is another thing altogether.

"It's always a possibility, but it's certainly not what we hope for", White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of a potential shutdown.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will join GOP leaders for a White House meeting with Trump on Thursday, and Sanders said, "The president hopes to be able to have conversations with them to make sure that doesn't happen".

On Tuesday, Schumer noted there were "good negotiations" under way on the immigration measure.

Republican leaders have postponed a planned House vote on the temporary spending measure until Thursday.

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Meadows said Wednesday that progress had been made in obtaining assurances this plan would be followed. Democratic votes will be crucial in the Senate, where Republicans by themselves lack the 60 votes needed to approve the legislation.

Knowing that, Democrats are using their leverage to try forcing concessions to boost domestic spending in areas like health care and infrastructure.

The two-week spending measure is aimed at giving both parties' bargainers more time to reach longer-term budget decisions.

This relatively popular category of roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants, brought into the country illegally as children, has been exposed to deportation since Donald Trump revoked Barack Obama's DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which provided for protection from prosecution and access to work permits.

The fate of the immigration dispute remains unclear.

"We could do a CR on into January to take care of the other things; the issue is really on the other side of the Capitol right now, not on the House side", Loudermilk said.

"We will go to the Rules Committee today with a bill and that bill will say December 22 on it", Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, told reporters.

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The top House Democrat says President Donald Trump is the "only person talking about a government shutdown".

Besides temporarily financing the government, McConnell said, the short-term measure would make cash available to several states that are running out of money for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

"We've got to get across the finish line on tax reform", Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., leader of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters after the group met privately early Wednesday.

Conservatives in the Republican Study Committee are trying to influence the talks by presenting a list of $1 trillion in possible spending cuts to pay for military spending increases.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Democratic leaders will go to a White House meeting on Thursday to discuss the budget after refusing to at.

AP reporters Andrew Taylor and Ken Thomas contributed.

Pelosi said: "Democrats are hopeful the president will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open".

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