Lawmakers Scramble to Avert Government Shutdown with Deadline Looming

The clock is beginning to tick more loudly.

With the new government shutdown deadline quickly approaching, lawmakers are scrambling to put together a deal that will be approved by both parties. The impending deadline is Friday, February 15. If an agreement is not reached by then, the government will again spiral into a partial shutdown. The last shutdown lasted a record-breaking five weeks, affecting over 800,000 federal workers.

The two primary issues at hand are the funding for border barriers and the debate over whether or not to increase funding for detention facilities and workers. Over the course of last week, officials were growing confident that a deal would be reached by using these two issues as the path to negotiation. However, it appears as if these talks have stalled over the weekend, raising fears that the shutdown will not be averted.

Members on both sides of the aisle are now beginning to discuss the possibility of backstop alternatives as an avenue to prevent the shutdown from happening again.

President Donald Trump used his Twitter platform on Sunday morning to place the blame on the Democrats. In a series of tweets, Trump said that the Democrats are not offering enough money for his demanded and controversial border wall.

House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Saturday that he is still optimistic that a deal can be reached before the Friday deadline. Hoyer said that he would be willing to back a deal that offered $2 billion in funding for a border barrier. Although Democrats generally stop short of agreeing to money for a wall, they recognize the need for funding for increased border security.

On Sunday, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that he did not know if a deal was close and that a government shutdown was certainly not off of the table.

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