>> Take one debate over government spending at a fight over immigration and clashes over taxes and health care tossed in a possible government shutdown. Mix it all together and you've got the makings of a good old fashioned Washington meltdown. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Democrats and Republicans face a crush of business and a shortage of holiday cheers as they try to wrap up their work for the year.
Democrats cancelled a meeting with President Trump last week after he insulted them on Twitter, but they can't just walk away from the problem, states are running out of money to pay for children's health insurance. People in hurricane battered areas need help and the government will shut down on Friday at midnight if Congress does not take action.
First, there's spending. Congress hasn't yet come up with a budget for the fiscal year that started at the beginning of October, and temporary funding expires at the end of this week. Republicans wanna hike military spending, Democrats are okay with that, but they wanna ramp up domestic spending as well.
Republicans can't afford to ignore them. They'll need at least eight Democratic votes to get any bill through the Senate. Democrats are also working on protections for the so-called Dreamers, the young people who entered the country illegally as children. The Trump administration could start deporting them as soon as March, unless Congress steps in.
Congress will have to renew the children's health insurance program, which provides coverage for 9 million low income kids. Funding ran out in September and law makers are at odds over how to pay for the $14 billion program. Republicans wanna cut other types of health spending, Democrats say that's a non starter.
Don't forget disaster aid. The Trump Administration has proposed $44 billion to help Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas recover from this year's hurricanes. Lawmakers from both parties say that's not nearly enough. And they're also seeking money to help California recover from this year's wildfires, as the blazes rage on.
And finally there's Obamacare. It remains the law of the land, but Trump has cut off payments that helped keep cost in check. A bipartisan group in the Senate wants to restore that money, but House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn't like the idea. Leaders from both parties are expected to meet with Trump on Thursday to work on an agreement.
Everything could get rolled together in one giant year end spending package, or it could all fall apart and Washington could deliver the sort of self inflicted injury that we've seen repeatedly in recent years. The first task is to avoid a government shutdown by extending funding past Friday. That looks like it may be coming together, but these larger issues remain unresolved.