House Republicans working on averting another shutdown


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders are grappling for a strategy to avert another government shutdown at midnight Thursday.

They scheduled a closed-door session this evening to brief House GOP lawmakers on a way to pass a stopgap funding bill that could last through March 23 to buy time for progress in implementing any follow-up budget pact and, perhaps, pass immigration legislation.

One option, GOP aides said, would be to pass the stopgap spending bill by marrying it with a full-year, $659 billion Pentagon spending bill. The aides required anonymity because lawmakers hadn't been briefed.

Republicans are scrambling to pass the measure through the House since they can't count on support from Democrats – who feel stymied by inaction on legislation to protect young immigrants from deportation – to advance the legislation.

That approach of pairing the Pentagon's budget with only temporary money for the rest of the government wouldn't go anywhere in the Senate, vowed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who said it "would be barreling head first into a dead-end."

On the other hand, the Senate might respond with a long-awaited spending pact to give whopping increases both to the Pentagon and domestic programs. Talks in the Senate on such a framework appeared to intensify in hopes of an agreement this week, aides and lawmakers said.

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