House passes spending bill with $5 billion for Trump’s border wall

Win McNamee  Getty Images North America

Win McNamee Getty Images North America

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a spending bill that will avert a government shutdown and pay $5.7 billion toward construction of a border wall after President Donald Trump declared he would not sign a bill that did not include wall funding.

An air of chaos hung over Washington as a midnight deadline rapidly approached for lawmakers and the president to find a way to accomplish a very basic task: keep the government up and running.

The economic effects of a shutdown over the Christmas and New Year holidays may be limited.

At issue in the current fight is money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

A partial government shutdown could begin, with affected agencies limiting staff to those deemed "essential" to public safety.

Donald Trump and others have hinted that Republicans may want to force the bill through via a "nuclear option".

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Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana proposed the idea of going nuclear on Friday morning in light of the Senate's vote later in the day. Initially, in a meeting with Congressional Democrats, Trump threatened to take full responsibility for any government shutdown that resulted from a disagreement over border wall funding.

Asked how long any potential shutdown would last, Sanders said: "Let's hope that that doesn't have to happen". "People don't want Open Borders and Crime!"

The vote of 217 to 185 on Thursday night puts the House at odds with the Senate, which on Wednesday night passed a funding bill that does not include border wall money.

The White House said on Tuesday it would search for already appropriated government funds to be redirected towards building the wall, since Congress was not cooperating with its request for the money. So the president said he will not sign this bill.

But Trump refused to back down, admitting at the White House that the "chances are probably very good" that a shutdown could take place. "They work better than anything".

"Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. Not for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an immoral, ineffective & expensive wall", said Speaker-Designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). We know this, by the way, because he tried to ambush Schumer and Pelosi with press in what they expected to be a closed-door meeting.

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Democrats, however, will most certainly block the measure in the Senate.

He went on to claim that "the wall will pay for itself on a monthly basis", saying $5 billion is not much compared to the recent defense bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said passing the stopgap funding bill would show that Republicans, still in control of the House and Senate, could finish the year by not prolonging a potential crisis. Not one Democrat voted yes, and we won big.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz flew all the way home to Hawaii, tweeting that he spent 17 minutes with his family, before returning on the 11-hour flight.

She also confirmed that in the event of a shutdown, Trump would stay in Washington and postpone his trip to Florida, where he was set to spend the Christmas holiday.

"The Trump temper tantrum may produce a government shutdown", Schumer said late Thursday.

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