House GOP unveils plan to avert government shutdown

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a press event to discuss the GOP plans for tax reform, September 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, Republican leaders proposed cutting tax rates for the middle class, wealthy and businesses. Key questions remain on how they plan to offset the trillions of dollars in lost tax revenue. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — House GOP leaders unveiled a plan Saturday to avert a government shutdown next weekend and keep the government open through Dec. 22.

The measure would buy time for bipartisan talks on a bigger budget agreement that would give the Pentagon and government agencies significant relief from a pending budget freeze.

A temporary spending bill enacted in September expires at midnight on Friday.

The move comes despite opposition from some GOP conservatives who think they’re being set up for a pre-Christmas deal they won’t like.

House Democrats say they won’t vote for the legislation without protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. GOP leaders oppose the idea.

Talks on a budget agreement are likely to restart next week after a setback on Tuesday when top Democrats pulled out of a meeting with President Donald Trump after he attacked them on Twitter.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said the new stopgap funding measure “will allow for additional time for a deal to be reached on top-line spending levels for this fiscal year. Once this agreement is made, my committee will rapidly go to work with the Senate to complete the final legislation.”

“I am eager to know what Republican leadership believes they can accomplish in the next two weeks that they haven’t been able to accomplish in the last two months,” countered top House Appropriation Democrat Nita Lowey of New York.