ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday that it does not expect the government to shut down next month, but has contingency plans in place if the U.S. Congress fails to reach a deal on funding the government by a Dec. 8 deadline.
“We are not anticipating a shutdown. We think that we’ll be able to work together. But the developments of the last 24 hours are discouraging,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters traveling with Trump.
Republicans control both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but their leaders will likely need to rely on at least some Democratic votes to pass the funding measure.
“There are always contingencies in place. We hope it doesn’t get to that,” Shah said.
Democratic leaders in Congress skipped a meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday that was expected to have been focused on the budget, raising the risk of a government shutdown next month with both sides far apart on the terms of an agreement.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, pulled out of the White House meeting because of a tweet that Trump sent earlier in the day attacking them as weak on illegal immigration and bent on raising taxes.
Democrats have said they will demand help for young people brought to the United States illegally as children as part of their price for providing votes on the budget measure.
Reporting by Steve Holland, writing by Roberta Rampton, editing by G Crosse