Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown


WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.

Republicans controlling the narrowly split chamber took up the fight, arguing that Democrats were holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect "dreamer" immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

"Democratic senators' fixation on illegal immigration has already blocked us from making progress on long-term spending talks," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "That same fixation has them threatening to filibuster funding for the government."

President Donald Trump entered the fray early Friday morning, mentioning the House-approved bill on Twitter, adding: "Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!"

The White House said today Trump will not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a funding bill passes. Trump had been set to leave this afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at Mar-a-Lago.

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