(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
WASHINGTON - The threat of a US government shutdown this weekend appeared to recede on Tuesday after President Donald Trump backed away from a demand that Congress include funding for his planned border wall with Mexico in a spending bill.
Even if the fight over wall funding is over, Republicans and Democrats still have difficult issues to resolve as they face a Friday night deadline when existing money expires for many federal agencies.
There was growing sentiment among lawmakers that they would need to pass a short-term extension of current spending, possibly of one week's duration, in order to finish negotiating longer-term legislation for funding the government through the end of September.
“Yeah, it looks like it,” said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Appropriations Committee member, when asked about the likelihood of a short-term extension.
But on Tuesday night, some leading Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate expressed optimism that Congress could pass the longer-term bill and avoid having to rely on another temporary extension of last year’s funding levels.
“We’re really close,” said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.
He added that leadership would make the final decision on which course Congress takes this week.