McConnell introduces short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announces he will introduce a continuing resolution to the Senate for a vote, which would fund the government through February 8, 2019.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 8:51 AM
Updated: Dec 19, 2018 10:45 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday introduced a short-term spending bill to fund the government through February 8, 2019 in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown this week.

In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell said that the measure, known as a continuing resolution, would 'ensure continuous funding for the federal government,' and would 'provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February the 8th.'

If the short-term measure is approved by both chambers of Congress, it would head to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature and prevent a partial government shutdown.

Congress is currently in a race against the clock to prevent a partial shutdown when funding expires for several key government agencies at midnight on Friday.

McConnell's plan appeared to have the backing of at least one high-profile Democrat: Nancy Pelosi. The California Democrat who appears on track to reclaim the speaker gavel next year said Wednesday afternoon she supported the continuing resolution.

'This is a missed opportunity to pass full-year funding bills now,' Pelosi said in a statement. 'However, Democrats will be ready to fully, responsibly fund our government in January, and we will support this continuing resolution.'

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have made clear they don't want a shutdown, but had been at an impasse over the President's demand for $5 billion in funding for his long-promised wall at the US-Mexico border.

Democrats have made clear that figure is a non-starter for them and any spending bill would need at least some Democratic votes to pass in the Senate.

Of course, no spending measure is final until the President signs it.

But on Tuesday, the White House appeared to step away from the brink of a shutdown.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday morning during an interview with Fox News that, 'We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion (for a border wall).'

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer sounded optimistic that a shutdown could be averted in remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

'Yesterday we made some progress,' he said, adding, 'Thankfully, President Trump appears to have backed down from his position for billions in direct appropriations for a border wall.'

This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments Wednesday.

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