G.O.P. Pushes to Avoid Government Shutdown, but the Path Is Tricky

“Look, there’s not going to be a government shutdown,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s just not going to happen.”

But the feud between Mr. Trump and the top Democratic congressional leaders provided ample cause for concern. The acrimony is a stark change from just a few months ago, when Mr. Trump sided with those leaders, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, on a short-term deal to fund the government and increase the debt limit.

Now, the president is in direct conflict with “Chuck and Nancy,” as he has called them, at a time when Democrats have substantial leverage. Democrats can block the stopgap spending measure in the Senate, and Democratic votes could also be needed to get the measure through the House if enough Republicans rebel against it. Any long-term spending package would also need Democratic votes.

Citing the power that Democrats hold under Senate rules, Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, complained last week that his party was being forced, despite having majorities in both houses, to “produce basically a Democrat document.”

“It’s an untenable, unworkable thing, and it’s a hell of a way to run a railroad,” he said.

The stopgap spending measure would provide more time for negotiations between the two parties over raising strict spending caps that were imposed in 2011 as they try to work toward a long-term spending deal for the 2018 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

In a deal to raise the limits, defense hawks want a sizable increase in military spending. But Democrats are pushing to ensure that nondefense spending is increased by the same amount as military spending. Once congressional leaders reach a deal on raising the caps, a long-term spending package can be negotiated. Lawmakers could pass another stopgap spending measure later in December to keep the government open until that long-term package is ready to be voted on.

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President Trump at a White House meeting on Tuesday with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders, did not show up after Mr. Trump attacked them on Twitter. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

“We want to keep government open,” Ms. Pelosi said last week. “That’s what we are about.” But she emphasized the need to provide an acceptable increase in nondefense spending as part of a deal to raise the spending caps, citing issues like providing funding to address the opioid epidemic.

Lawmakers are also pushing to provide tens of billions of dollars in additional disaster relief in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Members of both parties called a request from the White House last month to provide $44 billion in aid insufficient.

Complicating matters further are divisive issues being dealt with on Capitol Hill beyond financing the government. Republicans are closing in on sending their tax overhaul to Mr. Trump, a feat that would represent their first major legislative accomplishment of his presidency, and they hope to finish that work by Christmas.

The future of insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act is also the subject of debate, especially after Senate Republicans added to their tax bill a provision that would end the health law’s requirement that most people have coverage or pay a penalty. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that repealing the so-called individual mandate would increase average premiums on the individual market about 10 percent.

A holdout on the tax bill, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, decided to support the legislation in part because Mr. McConnell committed to support passage by the end of the year of two measures intended to reduce premiums under the Affordable Care Act, which Ms. Collins suggested would mitigate the effects of ending the individual mandate. One of those measures would provide funding for subsidies to insurers that Mr. Trump had cut off.

But it remains unclear what other legislation those measures would be attached to, and how such a move would be received by House Republicans who have criticized the subsidies as a bailout for insurers. Lawmakers also need to provide funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, whose funding expired at the end of September.

Then there is the issue of immigration. Democrats want to secure a deal to protect young unauthorized immigrants put at risk by Mr. Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Obama-era program that shields them from deportation.

Another Republican holdout on the tax bill, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, said in announcing his support for the tax overhaul that he had obtained a commitment from Senate leaders and the Trump administration to work with him to enact protections for DACA recipients.

The spending negotiations provide Democrats with leverage for reaching a deal on that issue. But Republican leaders want to address it separately.

To force the issue, Democrats could draw a line and withhold their support for a measure to fund the government. But Mr. McConnell warned against that approach on Sunday, noting that Mr. Trump had given Congress until March to find a solution on DACA.

“I don’t think that Democrats would be very smart to say they want to shut down the government over a nonemergency that we can address anytime between now and March,” Mr. McConnell said. “That’s a very untenable position.”

Democrats are quick to point out which party is in control of the government.

“Everyone knows Republicans are in charge,” said Matt House, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer. “If the government shuts down, it’ll be on their back.”

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