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US Congress Passes Emergency Spending Bill

Congress has passed an emergency spending bill to fund the federal government for two more weeks, avoiding a partial shutdown that would have taken effect Friday night. 

Thursday’s 235-193 vote in the House split mainly along party lines. The Senate later passed the bill 81-14 and sent it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The stopgap spending measure will give congressional leaders a couple more weeks of breathing room to work with the White House and produce a final spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. 

Before Thursday’s votes, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, both Democrats, held what appeared to be a cordial White House meeting with Trump, one week after they refused to meet with him when he said there could be no deal.

“Funding the government is extremely important, helping our soldiers is very important and helping average citizens is very important,” Schumer said. “So, we’re here in the spirit of ‘let’s get it done.’ ”

Pelosi outlined some of the issues she said had bipartisan support, including battling the opioid crisis, funding children’s health insurance and supporting veterans.

While many Republicans want more spending on the military, Democrats demand equal spending hikes for domestic social programs. 

Help for young immigrants

Pelosi also insisted that any final bill include help for immigrants, specifically young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children and now have led full lives in the U.S.; they’ve been educated and have begun careers here, and some have even joined the military. 

Trump signed an executive order lifting federal protection for the dreamers, meaning many now face deportation. He has given Congress until March to come up with a better plan. 

Many Democrats want immediate action on the dreamers, while Republicans want to put off the matter until tax reform and a budget bill are passed. 

Last week, Trump tweeted that Schumer and Pelosi “want illegal immigrants flooding into our country unchecked, are weak on crime.” 

He had kinder words for them Thursday, though, praising them for coming to the White House to meet with him, and choosing to “put their responsibility to the American people above partisanship.” 

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