Congress is punting on the government shutdown deadline

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House Republicans over the weekend introduced a stopgap measure that would fund the government at current levels until December 22 to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on a longer-term bill. Even the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have been threatening to oppose the measure, predicted passage.

'So the Democrats maybe will want to shutdown the country cause they want people flowing into our country, and I want people coming into our country, but I want to vet those people, and I want to vet them very carefully, ' Trump said, 'because we don't want to have radical Islamic terrorism in this country, and we don't want to have crime in this country'. He said Democrats are in an "untenable position" if they push the immigration issue to the point of a government shutdown. They want voters riveted on the party's almost $1.5 trillion tax bill, the paramount priority for them and Trump. They also have no interest in a shutdown that would raise questions about their ability to govern.

Top congressional leaders from both parties are set to meet with the president Thursday at the White House as they seek a deal on lifting spending caps that would allow more funding for the military and nondefense programs.

'The Democrats are really looking at something that is very risky for our country.

The Oval Office sit-down will come after Pelosi of California and Schumer of NY pulled out of a planned meeting on November 28 after Trump tweeted, "I don't see a deal!"

Plans for a meeting between the president and leading Democrats scheduled last week fell apart after Trump tweeted, "I don't see a deal", hours beforehand. Chuck Schumer - will attend a White House meeting later this week to discuss spending. She called Trump "the only person talking about a government shutdown".

The drama comes as House and Senate negotiators are seeking to finalize a Republican tax overhaul that would represent a crowning legislative achievement for the GOP in a year otherwise devoid of them.

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In reality, the conference will involve tough negotiations over differences in the two versions of the tax bill that can be approved by both chambers.

Schumer and Pelosi on Monday listed that program among their priorities, which also included the opioid crisis, pension plans, rural infrastructure and protection for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, known as "Dreamers".

Trump claimed the minority party wants illegal immigrants "pouring into our country" and they'll close the government's doors during the holiday season to keep the nation's porous borders open.

Later, he and conservative leader Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, met with top House Republicans and said they were seeking a strategy to reduce Democrats' budget leverage by quickly approving a full-year budget for the military.

The roughly 30-member caucus has been trying to win promises of tight budget curbs and other concessions from leaders in exchange for backing the short-term bill. That would give bargainers time to work through their disagreements, but they will need Democratic votes to succeed.

Democratic votes for any budget measure will be crucial in the Senate, where Republicans by themselves lack the 60 votes needed to approve the legislation.