Government Shutdown Clock Ticking Congress 'Paralyzed' Amidst Funding Negotiations By Natalie Baldassarre

Thursday morning the House of Representatives introduced a stop-gap funding bill ahead of the Friday deadline to fund the federal government. The new bill would fund the government through January 19, but it remains unclear whether the House will be able to accumulate enough votes to pass the legislation.

The House measure includes an extension of the NSA’s internet surveillance program (Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), $81 billion allocated to disaster recovery, $2.85 billion to fund the Children’s Health Insurance program, community health centers, and the Indian Health Service. Another $4.7 billion would be allocated to Department of Defense, funding for veterans, funding for the U.S. Coast Guard, and according to a House aid – flood insurance.

In an early morning tweet, President Trump urged the House to pass the short-term funding bill, and accused Democrats of wanting a government shutdown to distract from the administration’s victory on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  

However, Democrats are not the only ones frustrated with what’s included in the package. Conservative leaning Republicans were hoping for a bill that would increase military funding. Rep. Chris Collins told reporters “The defense hawks want monies … that unfortunately the Senate’s not in a position to give them.” It appears that not all members of the GOP are willing to compromise like Collins, who said “I’m going to vote for whatever I need to, to keep the government open.”

(UPDATE: After the clear lack of support from Conservative Republicans, the House has added “emergency” money for the military to their funding package).

The government last shutdown in October of 2013 for 16 days – and there is a strong likelihood that could happen again. Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer described the current state of Congress as “paralyzed” during his testimony to a House Committee Thursday morning. “You have 36 hours to keep the government open,” Hoyer said. “We don’t have the votes to keep the government open. We don’t have the votes to shut it down.”

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