Can Congress avoid gov’t shutdown?

This week, Congress will return to session and hopes to pass a spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown.

The last time the government shut down was in Fall 2013. The closure was spurred by the resistance to fund Obamacare, an issue for which much of America blamed Republicans. Today, further pressure is being applied to the GOP-controlled Congress to finally pass an Obamacare repeal and replacement plan after its initial attempt in March 2017 failed.

Another major objective of Congress this week is President Trump’s proposed border wall and its funding. Trump and Republicans also want a multibillion-dollar military buildup, and they want money to enforce e-Verify and to implement crackdowns on sanctuary cities.

Meanwhile, Democrats want to use the spending bill to help Puerto Rico with its Medicaid obligations, overseas famine relief, treatment for opioid abuse, and the extension of health benefits for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families.

“We have the leverage and they have the exposure,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to Democrats on Thursday.

“I don’t think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable,” said Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Likewise, House Speaker Paul Ryan has also commented that a government shutdown is something all parties want to avoid.

Mulvaney addressed the issue of compromising on Obamacare with Democrats in an interview on Fox News Sunday:

“We are offering to give Democrats some of their priorities. They made it very clear that they want these cost-sharing reduction payments as part of Obamacare. We don’t like those very much, but we have offered to open the discussions to give the Democrats something they want in order to get something we want.”

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