Congress Facing Midnight Deadline To Avoid Government Shutdown

Exclusive Pressure grows on Paul Ryan to commit to immigration debate

Exclusive Pressure grows on Paul Ryan to commit to immigration debate

Even without Pelosi, House passage of the budget bill was widely expected, because it includes more money for disaster relief, infrastructure and healthcare, which Democrats favor.

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney issued the order at midnight, notifying federal agencies they should execute their contingency plans.

The proposal would increase investments in domestic programs and the military to the tune of $300 billion over the next two years, a major victory for Democrats concerned that a Republican-led government would slash federal programs.

The agreement raises federal budget caps for two years with the increase divided nearly equally between defense and domestic spending. In a letter to her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi announced she wouldn't vote for the Senate compromise, writing that, "We can not allow our success in one part of the discussion to diminish our leverage in another".

Paul said he was asking for a 15-minute debate and then a vote on his amendment, which was certain to lose. Thursday night, the Kentucky Republican took on the entire U.S. Senate - and rather than fisticuffs, his weapons of choice were obstinacy and the chamber's weird rules.

The deal is expected to pass the Senate early Friday morning, despite Paul's standoff. The program ends on March 5 according to terms set by the administration but is the subject of litigation in the federal courts. The official also urged Congress to send the funding bill to the president's desk "without delay".

But House Republican leaders said the package would be approved, possibly before the start of the work day.

The deal was announced Wednesday as a bipartisan breakthrough that could free Congress from an endless cycle of spending fights. But now, he says, Republicans and Democrats are "spending us into oblivion". The deal pending in the Senate must first pass the Senate, then the House and be signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. "I would argue that it's time to vote".

This is what Paul, one of the Senate's foremost budget hawks, opposes.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted that members of his caucus had their own amendments that they would prefer to bring up for a vote.

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But both House Democrats and conservative Republicans are threatening to withhold support for a vote that's a few hours away.

At a closed-door evening meeting of House Democrats, Pelosi told lawmakers: "We have a moment".

But many Democrats were unhappy with the compromise as well because it doesn't tackle immigration - specifically addressing the plight of DREAMers, including the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the US illegally after being brought to the country as children and who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is set to expire on March 5.

Many Republicans, whose party controls both chambers of Congress, said the military's need for funding justified the extra spending.

Last month, the government shut down for three days in a dispute over undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, reopening after Senate Democrats accepted assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he would hold a floor debate on immigration this month.

Now, signs lawmakers on both sides are willing to vote on a less than flawless deal to keep the government running. But many appeared resolved to hold the line against any deal that did not address the party's immigration concerns.

The bipartisan compromise would provide the Pentagon and domestic programs with an extra $300 billion over the next two years.

For conservative Republicans, the budget deal, which McConnell and Schumer announced Wednesday, is too massive a spending increase.

Pelosi and other top Democrats say they want to force Republicans to agree to legal protections for DREAMers, including the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the US illegally after being brought to the country as children and who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Approval of the measure in the Senate seemed assured - eventually - but the situation in the House remained dicey.

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