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Dozens of Republicans not showing up at House as shutdown looms

Funding deadline moves White House toward government shutdown

With a partial government shutdown looming due to an impasse over border security and President Trump's border wall, dozens of Republican lawmakers have not been showing up to work in this lame-duck Congress. There were 37 absences in the House of Representatives on Friday, including many Republicans who are retiring or lost their races. 

And the House is out of session until Wednesday -- only two days before the federal government is facing a deadline on Friday to fund the government to avert a partial shutdown. If the House and Senate fail to approve new spending bills or if Mr. Trump fails to sign them into law, the federal government will partially shut down days before Christmas. 

A small majority of Americans oppose a government shutdown. According to a new USA Today / Suffolk University poll, 54 percent of registered voters say they oppose a shutdown, compared to 29 percent who support a shutdown. And it's Mr. Trump and the Republicans who would bear the brunt of the blame for a plurality of voters (43 percent). Republicans currently control both houses of Congress, as well as the White House. Twenty-four percent would blame Democrats if the government shuts down. 

If the large-scale absences from the House continue, it wouldn't necessarily prevent Congress from passing an appropriations package. But it would likely prevent the House from passing an appropriations package with only Republican votes. That could mean that the $5 billion in funding that Mr. Trump is demanding for his border wall is less likely to pass.

With a week to go until Christmas, and no agreement reached on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the government could well be headed towards a shutdown. Democrats in Congress say they don't want to spend more than $1.6 billion on border security. Meanwhile, the president is expected to head to Mar-a-Lago later this week for his holiday vacation, and it's unclear if he'll change his plans just because some government services are closed and thousands of government workers are furloughed. 

The Trump administration, for its part, is showing no signs that it cares to avert a shutdown. The president is "absolutely" willing to shut down the government if Congress doesn't authorize funding for a border wall and will do "whatever is necessary" to get the wall built, White House adviser Stephen Miller said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Meanwhile, White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp said Monday that the president is "continuing to negotiate with Congress," and the administration is "going to find ways to get to that $5 billion dollars and make sure that we can increase funding" for the wall.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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