Trump signs bill to avert government shutdown for two weeks

  • President Trump signs a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government funded for two weeks, just hours before a midnight deadline, to avert a partial shutdown.
  • Trump and congressional leaders can now move on to the far more contentious task of passing a longer-term spending bill before the end of the year.
  • The negotiations are expected to center around defense funding, children's health insurance and immigration issues.

President Donald Trump signed a short-term spending bill Friday to keep the federal government funded through Dec. 22.

The bill passed the House and Senate on Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced in a tweet that the bill had been signed.

The bill maintains current funding levels through Dec. 22 and funds the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the end of the year.

With the short-term spending measure complete, Trump and congressional leaders are now free to move on to the far more contentious task of passing a longer-term spending bill before the 22nd.

The president met on Thursday with congressional leaders to begin talks on the longer-term bill, known as a continuing resolution. "We're here in the spirit of 'let's get it done,'" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in the Oval Office.

What precisely an end-of-year spending package would contain is still a matter of fierce debate. Trump and congressional Republicans are demanding the elimination of caps on defense spending, while congressional Democrats want long-term CHIP funding.

Democrats are also insisting on a more permanent legislative fix to protect young immigrants who were brought to the country as children from deportation. Earlier this year, Trump canceled an Obama-era executive order that protected approximately 800,000 of these so-called Dreamers. But he gave Congress six months to legislate a solution to their status before the DACA protections, as they are known, expire in March.

Republicans in the House and the Senate will need Democratic votes in order to pass end-of-year spending bills, giving the Democratic minority far more leverage over the contents of this bill than they typically have over legislation.

Following Thursday's meeting at the White House, Sanders said that Trump and Republicans told Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that "any negotiations on immigration should be held separately on a different track, and not as part of the government funding bill."

But while it's understandable that Republicans would like to pass the spending bill without having to address a red-hot political issue like immigration, as of Friday, Democrats were prepared to hold out for the DACA fix.

In exchange for a provision protecting Dreamers, congressional Democrats have signaled their openness to including a number of stricter border security measures in the bill.

The high-stakes negotiations are expected to continue right up until the Dec. 22 deadline.