Odds of government shutdown increase over battle for border wall funding

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The potential for a government shutdown in October looms on the horizon as House Republicans move forward this week with a proposed $788 billion spending bill that Democratic House and Senate leaders are unlikely to go along with since it includes $1.6 billion in funding for President’s Trump’s border wall.

A portion of the bill was unveiled two weeks ago, which included $44.3 billion in proposed funding for many security measures, such as aviation security, border security, immigration, customs, cyber terrorism protection, drug smuggling and natural disasters. Included in that was $1.6 billion to begin construction of the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Twelve spending bills are needed to keep the government open after Oct. 1, and the House is scheduled to start debate next Wednesday on four of those bills bundled together. This will include funding for the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs. Also included is funding for the Army Corps of Engineers and the legislative branch.

Funding for the wall in the Defense package is expected to attract conservative votes, but it is also expected to lose Democrat votes, guaranteeing the whole thing is headed for a major showdown.

Republican lawmakers up for re-election next year are at risk of losing voters if they fail to reach an agreement and allow a government shutdown to occur.

According to a Bloomberg report, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations panel, has declared that the spending bill the House has proposed “isn’t going to go anywhere” in the Senate.

“Nobody likes to be held hostage,” agreed Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who said he would have supported the GOP bill if the wall funding was removed. “There is a risk of a shutdown and it is going to be entirely led by the Republicans and the president.”

Democrats are willing to go along with Defense increases, but they want more money for other agencies, such as Health and Human Services, Education and Commerce.

Hoping to make quicker progress, leaders are trying to push through the four “least controversial” of the 12 spending bills. Republican leaders wanted to push the entire 12-bill package all at once, but that idea was thrown out as many Republicans are digging in their heels over some of the domestic issues Democrats are trying to advance.

Bloomberg reported that Democrats are intending to “embarrass Trump” by forcing a vote to place a special ban on federal employees at Trump hotels.

A previously proposed bill in July by the House Appropriations Committee includes a total of $1.6 billion in funding to the Department of Homeland Security, to start the initial construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bill would give a total funding allotment of $13.8 billion to customs and border protection, which includes the following factors in the production:

  • $1.6 billion for the wall
  • $100 million for the hiring of 500 additional Border Patrol agents
  • $131 million for new technology systems on the border
  • $106 million for aircraft and sensors
  • $109 million for non-intrusive inspection equipment
  • $619.7 million additional funding to ICE

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