Four days from shutdown deadline, no deals in sight on budget or DACA

President Donald Trump on Monday once again charged that Democrats in Congress were trying to force a government shutdown later this week by refusing to negotiate an acceptable budget deal for the military, and by not budging on what to do with hundreds of thousands of younger illegal immigrants in the U.S. under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, as that issue continued to be a flash point for the two parties.

“Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal,” the President tweeted on Monday.

“They talk about DACA, but they don’t want to help.”

Government funding runs out Friday night at midnight, and so far there is no evidence of progress in negotiations on a spending agreement for the rest of the current fiscal year; the President wants $54 billion more for the Pentagon in 2018 – Democrats have said they want an equal increase in domestic spending as well.

Mr. Trump on Monday also took a jab at Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who had denounced the President’s closed-door remarks on immigration to a small group of lawmakers last Thursday.

Along with a short term funding plan and spending bills for 2018, a number of other items remain unresolved in the House and Senate – what to do about funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and billions in disaster relief for victims of 2017 hurricanes and wildfires are two of the notable items.

The House passed an $81 billion disaster relief bill just before Christmas, but no action has been taken on that in the Senate, which has prompted pleas from officials in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico for action.

On DACA, the President has made it clear in recent days that a bipartisan agreement among six Senators did not meet his requirements for a deal on immigration matters, as he labeled that a “big step backwards.”

Also complicating matters on DACA has been the war of words from both parties on what exactly the President said during an immigration meeting last week, in which he reportedly made clear he did not favor more immigration from African nations and the island of Haiti.

There is no requirement to have a DACA deal completed by this week; the President had given Congress an early March deadline on what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” who were shielded from deportation by the Obama Administration.

Both sides were doing their best to set the stage for who would be to blame if the government ran out of money at the end of the week:

Congress returns to work on Tuesday. No plan has been publicly announced as yet by GOP leaders for how lawmakers will address this next funding deadline.

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