Top Republicans left no doubt that the House will approve legislation Thursday preventing a weekend partial government shutdown, erasing any suspense over an impending budget clash that would put a calamitous exclamation point at the end of the capital’s tumultuous year.
“I feel good where we are,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters hours before his chamber planned to vote on legislation keeping federal agencies afloat through Dec. 22. Their money runs out at midnight Friday without approval of fresh funding, and Senate approval was also expected.
The development came as Ryan and congressional leaders of both major parties met at the White House with President Donald Trump about the year-end agenda. They had hopes the meeting might mean progress toward a pre-Christmas agreement on a budget framework, a popular children’s health program, aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida — and, for Democrats and many Republicans, protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
Before the meeting, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., staked out a hard line that Democrats would insist on “a fix” for the predicament of those immigrants, called “Dreamers” by their supporters. Pelosi said, “We will not leave here” without helping the immigrants. Her stance was noteworthy because GOP leaders are likely to require Democratic votes for the pre-Christmas spending bill.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus had resisted the pending stopgap measure earlier in the week, fearing it would lead to a bad deal for conservatives down the road. But on Thursday, the group’s chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said the group will likely give leaders whatever support they need to pass the legislation.
Meadows said they’ll help it pass to avoid distractions from the GOP drive to push their treasured $1.5 trillion tax bill through Congress this month. That measure, which mostly benefits businesses and upper-income people, is…