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UNITED STATES — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told a conference call of GOP members on Saturday afternoon that he is planning to devote his energy in the coming week to avoiding a government shutdown, while at the same time refusing to comment on the latest healthcare bill released by the White House.
The healthcare bill, which is the second shot at healthcare reform, was released on Thursday with White House officials wanting a vote by Wednesday. Speaker Ryan refused to offer a plan on how or when lawmakers will see a copy of the bill, though a copy was obtained last week by Politico.
Ryan said that his top priority coming out of the recess is to pass a stopgap spending bill that would keep the federal government open. If such a bill isn’t passed by Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET, the federal government will shut down, and millions of people will be temporarily out of work.
One fear of Republicans is the border wall that President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted on building. White House officials have said that any spending bill must include funding for the wall, a proposal that congressional Democrats would refuse.
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Minority Leader, said last week that congressional leaders could reach a spending agreement, if the White House stays out of the negotiations.
“I want to come up with an agreement,” Schumer said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “Our Republican colleagues know that since they control, you know, the House, the Senate and the White House, that a shutdown would fall on their shoulders, and they don’t want it.”
According to the Washington Post, White House officials said that they believe that President Trump sees a demand for funding for the wall as the best way to prove that his most controversial proposals can be fulfilled.