The migrant crisis is front and center as a government shutdown looms over spending, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., embracing border security legislation as a potential way to break the deadlock, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Democrat-led U.S. Senate forged ahead on Thursday with a bipartisan stopgap funding bill aimed at averting a fourth partial government shutdown in a decade, while the House prepared to vote on partisan Republican spending bills with no chance of becoming law.
The divergent paths of the two chambers appeared to increase the odds that federal agencies will run out of money on Sunday, furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halting a wide range of services from economic data releases to nutrition benefits.
McCarthy on Thursday suggested both Democrats and Republicans could come to a short-term agreement based on concerns over the migrant surge.
U.S. officials encountered 232,972 people at the border last month, the highest number since December.
“They want something on the border. They’re working on it,” he said of Democrat senators. “And so, I think there’s an opportunity here. We know we have to keep the government funded. We know we have a concern about the border — both sides.”
Asked directly by a reporter if he expects a shutdown, McCarthy said: “No, I’m saying we work through this and get it done.”
Senate Democrats and House Republicans would need to agree on a measure, though a small fraction of hard line conservatives in the lower chamber have rejected spending levels for fiscal year 2024 set in a deal McCarthy negotiated with President Joe Biden in May.
McCarthy has said he wants to put forth a temporary spending bill that would cut spending sharply and include border security policies.
Senate Republicans met Thursday about a border-related amendment. Topics included more funding for the Border Patrol, stricter barriers of entry to the U.S. and making it more difficult for asylum eligibility.
“Congress could change the rules,” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. “We could actually legislate ‘Remain in Mexico.’ We could have a one-year hiatus on asylum seekers. We’ve got plenty of them. Let’s try to figure out what to do with the ones already here.”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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