House Takes Major Step Toward Pushing Back Government Shutdown

Republicans had filed a continuing resolution on funding

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House lawmakers took a major step on Thursday toward avoiding a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill that keeps the federal government funded until December 21.

House Republicans filed the continuing resolution this week with the deadline to avoid a shutdown quickly approaching Friday.

Congress was able to fund the bulk of the government by passing two minibus packages.

But the remaining seven spending bills still need to be passed, as funding for the border wall has become a major sticking point.

President Donald Trump is pushing for $5 billion to fund his border wall and has threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include it.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has instead offered the president $1.6 billion for border wall spending, which earned some backlash from the more progressive wings of his party.

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He later clarified the funds won’t go to the construction of the border wall.

The president is set to meet with both Schumer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) next week, Fox News reports.

Related: First ‘Minibus’ Spending Package Sent to Trump Ahead of Shutdown

The Senate still needs to pass the package before it can be sent to the president to be signed.

Trump has made border security a focus of his presidency, including a security wall along the southern border at the forefront.

But he has said he is willing to sign the continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown, reported CNN.

Congress was able to pass the two biggest minibus proposals before being sidetracked by other pressing issues, such as the 2018 midterm elections. The first minibus package covered energy, the legislative branch, military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, including billions of dollars in additional funding.

Trump signed the package into law September 26.

The second minibus package includes billions that primarily go toward defense, labor, health services and education. The Department of Defense appropriations bill contains $607 billion in regular, non-emergency funding, at an increase of $17.6 billion from fiscal year 2018.

The second package also included $179 billion for labor, health and education bills. Additionally, it allowed lawmakers to avoid an earlier government shutdown by including a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline September 30.

Trump signed the package into law September 28.

Related: The Political Money Keeping the Washington Swamp Full

The House and Senate passed their own versions of the third minibus proposal this summer; but were unable to resolve their differences in order to send it to the president. The third package will include funding for various federal agencies such as the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Congress usually splits appropriations bills into a dozen separate minibus packages if they aren’t putting everything in one omnibus. Lawmakers this time around included five of the appropriation bills in the first two minibuses.

That allowed them to fund most of the federal government — but still left seven remaining bills.

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