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Week in politics: Government shutdown looms; Biden meets with China's Xi Jinping

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

We are just five days away from a potential shutdown. Congress needs to figure out a way to fund the government before a looming deadline. But House Republicans have yet to agree on a spending bill amongst themselves, and things keep getting murkier by the day. And that's just one of the stories happening on this busy week in politics. We're joined now by NPR White House correspondent Asma Khalid. Good morning, Asma.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: OK, so the new House speaker, Mike Johnson, introduced a two-step stopgap spending bill yesterday. What do we know about that?

KHALID: Well, the new speaker is under a severe time crunch. The government could shut down by the end of the day November 17 if Congress cannot figure out a way to pass a new spending bill this week. And so there are reports, as you mentioned, about this two-step stopgap funding measure. There's not a whole lot of details. But really, Ayesha, what it would do is it would extend government funding for some agencies up to one date and then set a separate funding deadline for others. You know, the White House has made it clear last week that it would not accept this mechanism broadly, that it wouldn't even, you know, accept a supplemental funding bill that provides money for Israel but not for Ukraine. And last night, after these House Republican plans were reported, the White House issued a statement saying that this proposal is a, quote, "recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns." A White House official told NPR that the Office of Management and Budget has already started telling agencies to plan for a shutdown.

RASCOE: This potential government shutdown comes as President Biden is slated to travel to California and meet with China's President, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the APEC summit this week, which is really a critical meeting - right? - so - because China is a big concern for people on the left and the right in this country.

KHALID: That's right. And, you know, this is the first face to face meeting that Biden and Xi are having in more than a year. And experts and I would say, frankly, White House officials are not necessarily expecting any sort of grand plans from this meeting. But the goal is to stabilize a somewhat shaky relationship. And, you know, Biden has really wanted to focus more of his foreign policy on China, but the wars in Ukraine and now in the Gaza Strip have clearly altered those plans. What I will say is that the White House has often been eager to portray split screens and show these pictures of president governing and focusing on policy, in contrast to the disorder amongst House Republicans on Capitol Hill. And I'd imagine they're going to try to play that up again this week.

RASCOE: That's NPR White House correspondent Asma Khalid. Thank you, Asma.

KHALID: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.