Congress close to deal on coal miners' benefits

Paul Ryan Mitch McConnell

U.S. President Donald Trump will settle for border security funding instead of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which means a deal to avert a government shutdown is growing ever more likely.

"We're pleased he's backing off", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Mulvaney last week floated providing billions in cost-sharing funds in return for Democrats providing money for Trump's wall at the border with Mexico.

A temporary funding bill expires Friday at midnight, and GOP leaders late Wednesday unveiled another short-term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend, something Republicans are determined to avoid.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told Pelosi in a conversation Tuesday night that the administration would not accept a bill that included the payments, according to an aide briefed on the conversation. "We've had a very hard time performing the very basic fundamental tasks of governing", said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. A dispute over the timeline nearly derailed the December deal to keep the government running.

Those whose incomes are below 250 percent of poverty, or $30,150 for a single person also are eligible for cost-sharing reductions that make out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-payments lower, as well.

There is no certainty how this standoff might be resolved, with a partial government shutdown set to begin Saturday unless Congress acts. "I would absolutely tell the Democrats that if you want to shut down the government over this, you will pay a price".

Over the recess, Republicans and Democrats worked carefully to craft a must-pass spending bill that all parties could agree on and could be signed by the President, but the delicate negotiations have hit a few roadblocks in recent days.

But a White House official said on background that Mulvaney didn't say the administration would end payments.

There's been a lot of buzz this afternoon about the White House supposedly promising to continue the Affordable Care Act's insurer payments. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump appears not to have gotten the memo and may embrace the kind of brinkmanship politics that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in Congress wisely reject. Two other sources familiar with the negotiations said the White House had assured Democrats the administration would continue the program, at least for the time being.

But as for whether he supports funding Trump's border wall vision, Scott gave himself room to maneuver.

"The President and his advisers are every day, I think learning new lessons about how delicate and complicated this process is. That is something separate that the administration does", Ryan said. As for the President, wrapping up his first 100 days in the White House by literally grinding the federal government to a halt doesn't exactly scream "successful Commander in Chief".

At the same time, House Republicans had a breakthrough on their moribund health care legislation as a key group of conservatives, the House Freedom Caucus, announced it would support a revised version of the bill.

When asked when the wall would be built, Trump said, "Soon".

During the campaign, he repeatedly described an "impenetrable physical wall" along the length of the southern border that would be built from concrete, rebar and steel and stand as high as his venues' ceilings.