Senate okays spending bill averting shutdown | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 21, 2018

Senate okays spending bill averting shutdown

Denies Trump of US-Mexico border wall funds

The US Senate on Wednesday night approved an emergency short-term spending bill that averts a looming government shutdown, but excludes the $5 billion that President Donald Trump sought for a US-Mexico border wall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure will fund normal government operations at current levels through February 8 -- bringing Washington a step closer to avoiding a potentially crippling closure of some federal offices over the Christmas holiday.

The bill, which cleared the Senate by voice vote, will need to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Trump before midnight Friday, when funding is set to expire for key agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.

Republican and Democratic leaders gave strong signals that the stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, would pass Congress and land on the president's desk.

White House aides told US media that Trump is inclined to sign the measure.

But it is seen as a defeat for the president, who had argued strenuously for new funding for a wall that he insists would check illegal immigration. Trump essentially abandoned his position from last week, when he told Democrats he would be "proud" to shutter government over border security.

The six-week deal would temporarily break an impasse over spending and border security, as Democrats and Republicans continue to clash over immigration.

It comes a day after Democratic leaders rejected a longer-term Republican offer that would have increased border security.

Once Democrats take House control next month, they will be loathe to greenlight more money to Trump for his wall.

The president has fumed about Democrats not giving in, and he ranted about it again Wednesday.

"In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but when it comes to Border Security and the Military, the Democrats fight to the death," he tweeted.

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