Ryan presses Dems to back bill keeping government open


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan tried pressuring Democrats on today to back legislation preventing a weekend federal shutdown. But he gave little ground on the partisan battle over immigration, an issue many Democrats say must be resolved before they'll vote to keep agencies functioning.

A day after conservatives expressed opposition to the short-term spending bill and said GOP leaders lacked the votes to pass it, Ryan declined to say if he had enough Republican support to push it through the House this week. Vote counters planned to gauge GOP support later Wednesday.

Instead, Ryan, R-Wis., said it was "baffling" why Democrats would oppose the spending measure, noting it contains money for the military and a widely supported children's health insurance program. Republicans are hoping the money for children will pressure some Democrats to back the overall bill.

"I think cool heads hopefully will prevail," Ryan told reporters. Congress must approve the measure by Friday night to prevent a shutdown.

Ryan also said he wants to reach compromise on immigration but won't bring such a measure to the House floor unless President Donald Trump supports it. He said Trump is being "completely rational" in demanding the bill have stronger border security provisions than a bipartisan immigration proposal from six senators he rejected last week.

Separately, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other Democrats met privately in the Capitol with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and some emerged citing little progress. The talks were on legislation aimed at shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, protections Trump has ended and will expire in March.

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