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McConnell Introduces Short-Term Government Spending Bill


With a partial government shutdown looming, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has introduced another short-term government spending bill.

McConnell said the continuing resolution introduced on Wednesday would "provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th."

The introduction of the continuing resolution comes as lawmakers face a December 21st deadline to fund key government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Interior Department.

Earlier this month, lawmakers approved a short-term spending bill pushing the deadline to this Friday from December 7th due in part to the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

Most of the government was funded in a spending package passed ahead of the midterm elections, although an ongoing dispute over funding for President Donald Trump's border wall has held up the passage of a bill to fund other key agencies.

Trump has repeatedly demanded $5 billion for construction of the wall, while Senate Democrats are only willing to provide $1.6 billion for border security in a government spending bill.

In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell noted Democrats turned down an offer that would provide $1 billion more in border security spending than Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's, D-N.Y., proposal.

"I'm sorry that my Democratic colleagues couldn't put partisanship aside and show the same good-faith flexibility that the President has shown in order to provide the resources our nation needs to secure the integrity of our borders and the safety of American families," McConnell said. "But this seems to be the reality of our political moment.

He added, "It seems like political spite for the president may be winning out over sensible policy -- even sensible policies that are more modest than border security allocations which many Democrats supported themselves, in the recent past."

McConnell sought to blame the threat of a shutdown on "Democrats' allergy to sensible immigration policies," although Trump previously took ownership of a potential shutdown.

"If we don't get what we want, one way or the other," Trump said during a meeting with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week, "I will shut down the government, absolutely."

Trump stated he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," an issue that helped propel him to the White House.

Approval of McConnell's short-term spending bill would push the debate over border wall funding into the next Congress, when Democrats will control the House but Republicans will have an expanded majority in the Senate.

A recent Quinnipiac University National Poll found that 62 percent of voters oppose shutting down the government over differences about funding for the border wall compared to just 34 percent that support a shutdown over the wall.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans support shutting down the government over the wall but are the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group supporting a shutdown.

If there is a shutdown, 51 percent of voters would blame Trump and Republicans in Congress more, while 37 percent would blame Democrats in Congress more.

Trump insisted throughout his presidential campaign that the border wall would be paid for by Mexico and has recently suggested the cost of the wall will be offset by a new U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

"Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA! Far more money coming to the U.S." Trump said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.

He added, "Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!"

White House officials have had difficulty backing up Trump's claims about the impact of the trade agreement but have suggested the president can go around Democratic lawmakers in order to fund construction of the wall.

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