Congress closes in on massive spending bill

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Congressional leaders and top White House officials are clearing the way for a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill, scrapping several last-minute attempts to tack on controversial policy riders ahead of a Friday deadline to fund the government.

Trump administration and Hill GOP sources say the new spending package is unlikely to include legislation shoring up Obamacare’s insurance markets. One White House official called it a “heavy lift” — even as President Donald Trump made a last-minute push Monday to include the provision in the legislation.

The president also asked GOP leaders over the weekend to include a short-term patch shielding Dreamers from deportation for 2.5 years in return for $25 billion in wall funding. But Democrats — whose votes are needed for passage — balked at the idea, and Republicans appear ready to drop it.

Roughly $900 million in transportation funding for a massive New York-New Jersey infrastructure project is also expected to get sidelined because of Trump’s veto threat on the so-called Gateway Project. Gone too are conservative demands to defund Planned Parenthood or cut off money to sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants.

Congressional negotiators are rejecting pleas from both parties to load up the must-pass bill with other long-simmering policy items as they attempt to avert a third shutdown in three months. Lawmakers have just four days until funding runs dry.
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