Legislation that Could Avert Shutdown Takes the Floor

Late Wednesday night, lawmakers introduced a bill that would prevent a second partial government shutdown while funding some of the White House’s chief security concerns. The White House has indicated President Trump would be open to signing the legislation and subsequently declaring a national emergency to fund the border wall.

The 1,159 page bill includes funding for all the agencies currently acting on a continuing resolution the president signed in January.

It also allocated $1.375 billion in funding for 55 miles of physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Additionally, federal employees would receive a 1.9 percent pay raise.

Under the introduced legislation, lawmakers would have access to Department of Homeland Security detention centers where children are kept, an issue that entered the limelight in 2018.

Per the bill, detention centers would be funded to maintain a daily average of 45,274 beds but given the authority to move cash around to provide funding for additional beds if the DHS Secretary determines it is necessary.

While this legislation provides far less than the $5 billion President Trump originally requested for the border wall, he has expressed his desire to avoid another shutdown.

President Trump told reporters at the White House, “I don’t want to see a shutdown. Shutdown would be a terrible thing. I don’t want to see another one, there’s no reason for it.”

Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, “I had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he's prepared to sign the bill. He also [will] be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I indicated I'm going to support the national emergency declaration.”

In the event President Trump does not choose to take this course of action, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) has introduced a short term continuing resolution that would fund the government through February 22, 2019 to provide Congress more time to assess the situation.

Congressman Meadows said in a statement, “The conference report is projected to be thousands of pages long and was negotiated behind closed doors. We believe that Members should be given enough time to read it before voting on it, so they can decide whether or not a better deal can be negotiated. Congress should pass a continuing resolution to give Members enough time to make these considerations on behalf of the American families and communities they represent.”

If a funding bill fails to pass both chambers of Congress and receive a signature from the president, another shutdown would begin on Saturday morning, affecting 800,000 federal employees once again.

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