GOP’s must-pass spending bill key to avoiding government shutdown

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In an attempt to avoid a government shutdown this weekend, House Republicans presented a new, stripped-down spending bill early Thursday.

The legislation would postpone a possible government shutdown through Jan. 19, 2018, and allow lawmakers to return home for the holidays.

The new GOP spending bill would shelve budget battles and immigration debates until January and deny Democrats any victories on the issues that they had hoped to secure in 2017.

Should the measure fail to pass, the government would shut down at midnight Friday.

In a Thursday appearance on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said, “The White House is committed to keeping the government open. It would be a shame if the Democrats force a shutdown of the government in the 11th hour of trying to negotiate something. I would say that would be irresponsible.”

According to the Associated Press, Republican leaders are working to recruit votes for the legislation, particularly from lawmakers who prioritize defense spending and had hoped to secure budget increases for the Pentagon this year. The new bill does contain approximately $5 billion dollars for missile defense upgrades to respond to the burgeoning threat from North Korea and to repair two destroyers damaged in accidents in the Pacific in 2017.

A vote on the spending measure is likely to take place Thursday, with Senate passage expected to quickly follow.

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