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Congress passes funding bill to delay government shutdown until Dec. 21

United States Senate chamber. (United States Congress/Released)
December 06, 2018

Both chambers of Congress have passed a funding bill ahead of the Dec. 7 deadline to delay a government shutdown.

The resolution will prevent the government from shutting down until Dec. 21, Reuters reported.

The measure was passed in the House early Thursday. Shortly after, the Senate also passed the measure.

“The #Senate passed by VOICE VOTE, H.J.Res. 143, further continuing appropriations for FY 2019 (2 week [continuing resolution]),” the Senate Press Gallery tweeted Thursday afternoon.

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President Trump threatened a partial shutdown of the government if Congress failed to meet his border wall funding demands. He insisted on $5 billion to construct the wall on the southern U.S. border in order to control illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

While the funding measure includes $1.6 billion for border security, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that it cannot be used to fund any of the proposed border wall.

“Let me be clear: the $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of President Trump’s 30-foot-tall concrete border wall. It can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border, and only where the experts say fencing is appropriate and makes sense,” Schumer said.

Congress has passed funding bills for five departments of government, comprising most of the $1.2 trillion discretionary budget. However, they have seven more departments to go, which face the risk of shutdown until budgets are passed.

Those seven departments include: State, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security, according to Fortune.

Congress will now have two additional weeks to finalize funding for those departments. It’s unclear what kind of impact the upcoming holidays may have on meeting the new deadline. Some suspect it could push along the process as lawmakers want to finalize the process without it lingering through the holidays.

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Appropriations Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby said negotiations for the remaining funding appropriations are “basically done.”

Shelby has attempted to facilitate compromise in the negotiations, such as proposing Trump’s $5 billion border wall funding request become separated into two years’ worth of funding bills, but Schumer rejected such an idea.

Schumer, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will meet with President Trump on Tuesday to hold talks on spending. Both have opposed any mention of funding for a border wall, posing a challenge considering the 60 required votes to pass the funding measures.

In previous negotiations, Pelosi has denounced attempts to exchange DACA reform for border wall funding.

The meeting between both Democrat minority leaders was originally scheduled for Dec. 4, but was delayed due to honoring the late former President George H.W. Bush.