Republicans in US Congress push for vote to avoid shutdown

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Funding for the federal government runs out at midnight on Friday.

The message at the meeting was: "Let's bring the House bill over and have a quick vote and make the Democrats up in 2018 figure out what they want to do", the person said.

The short-term spending bill would keep the government open through February 16 while extending the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years and rolling back several taxes in the Affordable Care Act. The White House released a statement earlier Thursday in support of the bill.

A growing number of lawmakers said they opposed the deal - not over immigration, but because they are exhausted of passing stopgap measures - and demanded that negotiations continue on a longer-term spending bill.

"But that will be a bill we can not support", 171 of 193 House Democrats wrote in a letter to Trump.

Instead of passing a month-long patch to government spending, Schumer proposed a "very short-term" bill to keep the government running that he said could spark a deal over the next few days on immigration and overall spending levels through September 30, the end of this fiscal year.

Ahead of an expected vote in the House of Representatives later on Thursday, Trump said on Twitter that "CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!" Mike Pence, now Trump's vice president, said he would be willing to shut the government down over reducing government spending and over his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

"A government shutdown will be devastating to our military. something the Dems care very little about!" he wrote.

Talks among top lawmakers and White House officials were moving slowly on an immigration package.

"The president supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. "And now they are threatening to crowd out the needs of veterans, military families, opioid treatment centers, and every other American who relies on the federal government". "And the worst thing is for our military; we don't want that to happen".

How will conservative House members vote?

The bill's fate in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to advance the legislation to a final vote, is much more uncertain.

The back-and-forth was reminiscent of the chaos that erupted last week after Trump tweeted criticism of an intelligence bill that his administration had endorsed the day before.

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"What other choice do have this week", asked New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur.

The U.S. government has shut down before.

With that as a backdrop, Republican and Democratic leaders were already casting blame on each other for a shutdown that was still not a certainty.

"There seemed to be a consensus with the cards that we have that this is the best way to play it", North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Walker said after the meeting. He called the latest short term bill "a proverbial crap sandwich", but said at this juncture he supported it.

The president fired back at Democrats during a trip to Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, arguing they're pushing for a shutdown to distract voters from the GOP's tax cuts.

House Democratic leaders are urging their members to oppose the measure because it fails to address DACA, according to Democratic sources.

House passage was assured after the House Freedom Caucus reached an accord with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The Wisconsin Republican told Reporters Thursday that GOP vote counters are "doing fine".

Democrats want a deal to protect around 700,000 immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S.as children and have stayed here illegally.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, one of the lead authors of the bill, met on Thursday morning with the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have sought a centrist deal on DACA as well, his office said.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said there is a "good chance" that the bill will pass in the upper chamber.

While that tradeoff seemed achievable, it was the immigration dispute that loomed as the biggest hurdle, and Democrats were trying to use the need to keep government financed as leverage.

The tweet also complicates the GOP's strategy for winning vital Democratic support for the bill.

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