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Spending Bill To Keep The Government Open Becomes Contentious


And now let's turn to NPR's Scott Detrow, who's covering this and many other stories.

Hi, Scott.


INSKEEP: So Democrats trying to put a little more pressure on the president there and questioning his staff. Have Democrats at all influenced the direction of the president's foreign policy so far?

DETROW: You know, it's interesting. Democrats have called for a lot of different things over the last couple months. And it's surprising how much of it they've gotten. They called for Michael Flynn to be fired. That's something that happened. They called for recusals of Jeff Sessions from the Russian investigation of the Justice Department, Devin Nunes from the House investigation. Both of those happened. That's not to say that Democrats have an enormous amount of influence with the Trump administration. In fact, I think every time they make demands like this, they're less likely to happen. But that's the way the political waves have moved.

INSKEEP: OK. And so now there's the pressure on Sebastian Gorka. At the beginning of a week with a lot of other news, what is happening in Congress this week?

DETROW: Well, the biggest thing to pay attention to is the fact that the federal government runs out of money at midnight Friday. So...

INSKEEP: Awkward.

DETROW: ...That needs to be renewed. The White House is pushing to include funding for a border wall as part of that. Democrats have made it clear that is not something they would vote for at all. And House and Senate Republican leaders don't really want to have that fight right now as well.

INSKEEP: And just so we're clear, is this a measure that has to be bipartisan, you have to get some extra Democratic votes in the Senate for it to pass?

DETROW: That's right. At least eight Democrats will need to sign on board to whatever funding plan comes together this week.

INSKEEP: Does that reduce the odds of picking up other big-agenda items, like health care, which the president would like to tackle this week?

DETROW: The president is pushing for that. House Speaker Ryan has made it clear that he's only going to bring that bill back when he has the votes to pass it. Those votes aren't there right now.

INSKEEP: So maybe not now. All right, NPR's Scott Detrow setting up the week for us. Scott, thanks very much for coming by.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.