President Trump and Congressional Leaders to Discuss Budget

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said President Donald Trump will meet next Tuesday with Congressional leaders to discuss several key agenda items, among which is a federal spending plan to prevent the government from shutting down after current funding expires on December 8.

She further noted that end-of-year legislative issues will be covered with the discussion, while according to a person with knowledge of the plans, the meeting agenda includes caps on defense spending which the GOP wants to lift.

Democrats are calling for equality in the spending bill, demanding an increase in non-defense spending in case Republicans exceed the defense spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released a $581 billion fiscal 2018 defense legislation, which exceeds the legal limit set for Pentagon funding by almost $60 billion. Defense Secretary James Mattis will likely attend a portion of the discussion.

The Hill reported that among those expected to meet with the president are Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

Spending levels have not yet been agreed to by leaders from the two parties, which may lead to Congress passing a stopgap spending bill in order to buy negotiators more time.

The Senate is set to pass its own version of the tax bill somewhere next week, hoping to send a finished product on the president’s desk before next year. However, the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program complicates matters further as many Democrats are considering withholding support from an omnibus spending bill should DACA provisions not be included in it.

Republican leaders, on the other hand, refuse to do so, which only increases the risk of a shutdown even further.

Trump made a surprising move in September when he struck a deal on government spending with Democrats Schumer and Pelosi, and not leaders from his own party. For that reason, the upcoming meeting will be closely watched.

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