Congress passed a stopgap spending bill Thursday as finger-pointing over who would be to blame for a potential federal government shutdown intensified.
As the short-term measure, which would extend funding until Dec. 22, was passed by the House, President Trump traded jabs with Democrats and hosted a bipartisan White House meeting meant to settle deep partisan divides.
The West Wing sitdown, similar to one that Dems backed out of last week following heated attacks by the President, was scheduled a day ahead of a deadline to pass legislation or face the closure of federal offices.
Well, we hope we can come to an agreement, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. Funding the government is extremely important. Helping our soldiers is extremely important and helping average citizens is very important. Were here in the spirit of lets get it done.
White House doubles down on Trump government shutdown threats
While both sides appeared to play nice in front of the cameras, a war of words exposed the rifts simmering under the surface.
Trump in September said the government needs a good shutdown, but has since changed his tune and accused Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California of steering the country toward the fiscal cliff.
The Republican President said on Wednesday the Democrats were looking at something very dangerous for the United States: They are looking at shutting down.
Trump left two seats empty at last weeks meeting after Chuck and Nancy pulled out.
Trump’s government shutdown threat has GOP panicking
Schumer countered on Thursday ahead of the latest meeting, saying that Trump is the one who is rooting for a shutdown.
If one occurs, it will fall on his shoulders, Schumer said.
His party controls the Senate, the House and the presidency, he added. Nobody here wants to see a shutdown. We Democrats are not interested in one.
The Republicans have 52 seats in the Senate, but need a supermajority of 60 votes to pass bigger pieces of legislation.
Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall
Trump said Democrats are tying up the process by forcing immigration and other issues to the spending bill.
Democrats want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime, Trump said.
A shutdown over the issue, he said, could happen.
Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats are seeking funding for veterans, health care subsidies and the opioid crisis as well as a bill that would grant dreamers, young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, legal status.
Trump demands government shutdown in angry tweets
House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also attended the Oval Office tete-a-tete.