Trump and Congress face government shutdown

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A federal government shutdown looms if Congress fails in an urgent attempt to come to a consensus on spending prior to the Jan. 19 deadline.

According to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Legislative Director Marc Short will meet with top congressional Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday at the Capitol. Congressional aides are optimistic that they will reach agreements which will resolve several of the most critical issues, particularly spending and immigration.

In 2017, Congress repeatedly delayed passing legislation to fund the government through October. Democrats are hoping to leverage the upcoming deadline to force President Donald Trump to sign legislation to address the discontinuance of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which protects mostly young illegal aliens known as “Dreamers.”

On Friday, Trump said that he will not agree to a deal protecting the Dreamers unless Democrats consent to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to an overall reform of the immigration system.

Trump tweeted, “The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!”

Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview Friday that his caucus does not intend to compromise on immigration issues, including seeking an end to family preferences and the diversity visa lottery, a program that provides visas to people in countries with low rates of migration to the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

In a Sunday appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Meadows noted that conservatives are skeptical of a spending deal–especially if it involves the reauthorization of a controversial government surveillance program that they reluctantly agreed to extend until Jan. 19.

“It looks like we’re going to spend more money on growing the government in January than perhaps the biggest amount of money that we spent since the Obama stimulus plan,” Meadows said. “And that’s a concern for conservatives.”

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