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Lawmakers eye stopgap spending bill to prevent shutdown

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    Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 9.

WASHINGTON >> Democrats controlling the House are proposing a government-wide temporary funding bill to prevent a federal shutdown at month’s end and to give the Senate time to get moving on $1.4 trillion in spending bills to fill in the details on this summer’s bipartisan budget and debt deal.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said today that the temporary funding bill would likely extend until “sometime in November.” House and Senate aides said Nov. 21 would be the likely end date for the measure.

The GOP-held Senate is likely to go ahead with the move, and all sides want to avoid a repeat shutdown debacle after President Donald Trump forced a partial 35-day government shutdown last year in hopes of winning more funding for his long-sought border wall. But a fight is looming in that chamber over Trump’s $5 billion request for 200 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, responsible for drafting 12 spending bills required to implement the hard-won budget pact — required to prevent sweeping spending cuts and permit the government to continue to issue Treasury notes to pay its bills — is getting started this week with bills funding the Pentagon, foreign aid, health, education and energy programs.

Republicans will try to fully fund Trump’s wall request, said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., but Democrats vow to fight the plan because it would take money from popular social programs funded by a labor, health and education bill that’s a top priority of the party.

“I’m not happy,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who takes the lead for Democrats on that measure.

The administration last week announced plans to takes $3.6 billion from already-funded military construction projects to finance 175 miles of border fencing that Trump has be unable to win from Congress. That has roiled Capitol Hill and may add a complicating wrinkle to an already difficult job.

“There are a lot of members very upset about it,” Lowey said.

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