The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has given herself a new deadline of Monday night for passing a federal budget and raising the debt ceiling, with an underlying message: Republicans should pass those bills to make sure that the House of Representatives and the Democrats take the biggest gains possible in the November midterm elections.
“Republicans should be passing a government spending bill and raising the debt ceiling by 10 o’clock Monday night to ensure a strong, successful election season that will produce the big win our country so desperately needs,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The American people deserve nothing less than a Congress focused on strengthening the middle class and helping them succeed. After more than eight years of Republican inaction, it’s time for our government to return to the business of supporting American families, whether through investing in innovation, empowering teachers, or lowering drug prices,” Pelosi added.
While President Trump insists he will not negotiate on spending, the Democrats say they will not negotiate the debt ceiling for a separate bill.
Pelosi wants her government shutdown to be brief and called for Trump to show “courage and vision” and sign a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown at midnight Monday.
Pelosi said the Democrats have made a “100% commitment” to raise the debt ceiling and send the government back to normal operations, citing the bipartisan budget agreement reached in July. But Pelosi said that the debt ceiling should only be raised after reforms are made to the system of paying for Social Security and Medicare to make sure that Social Security is there for “old people, young people and middle-class families who depend on it.”
Lawmakers are meeting in a rare Sunday session, as they try to get ahead of a potential shutdown. However, they still have a lot of work to do and no clear path to legislative priorities, including funding for the Wall – or “border security,” as Trump has repeatedly referred to it.
Democrats are trying to pass legislation through the House that would provide $5bn to build wall, but will have to convince the Senate to follow suit or for it to be extended, as Senate Republicans, and Trump, object to it.
On Saturday, Senate Democrats appeared to reach a deal with President Trump to fund the government but not the wall.
Mike Pence and Chuck Schumer signed off on a bipartisan deal that would end the shutdown but would not include funds for the wall.
An official in Schumer’s office said that after the two senators discussed the deal with McConnell, Senate GOP leaders decided not to push the agreement through. “Then we had a conversation with the president, who liked the deal we struck,” the official said.
Shortly after 11pm ET on Saturday night, Pence’s office released a statement saying the senator supports the deal.
The White House did not respond to questions about whether Trump supported the deal.
Schumer and Pelosi haven’t been successful in moving the Senate toward anything that doesn’t include wall funding.
On Friday, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to reauthorize certain government agencies through March 2019, including the IRS, which would continue to work and provide tax refunds through the shutdown.