The government continues to barrel towards a shutdown as it appears increasingly unlikely that a spending bill will pass through both the House and the Senate before this Friday’s government funding deadline.
Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday that he had “confidence” that the House can pass a short-term spending bill to avert a government shutdown. The government will shut down on Friday, January 19, if they do not pass a short-term spending bill.
President Donald Trump revealed on Thursday that he supports the short-term spending bill.
The short-term spending bill, sponsored by the House leadership, would fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, and delay several Obamacare taxes. Conservatives oppose the short-term spending bill because it would continue to hold the military hostage, and increase spending.
Conservatives, such as House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) added that the short-term spending bill would also allow the Senate more time to craft a watered-down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal alien amnesty at the expense of conservatives who want funding for a southern border wall, as well as an end to chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.
Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan told Politico that the Freedom Caucus remains largely opposed to the short-term spending bill.
Meadows said on Thursday, “I promise you, they don’t have the votes.”
Meadows also said that roughly 22 Republicans oppose the spending bill in its current form.
The spending bill faces large hurdles in the Senate as well.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of Senate Republican leadership, argued, “I’m concerned that we, yeah, we may not have 60 votes in the Senate. And I think that’s obviously problematic.”
Speaker Ryan told reporters:
If the Senate Democrats want to shut the government down, if the Senate Democrats want to deny funding for our troops, if the Senate Democrats want to stop funding CHIP for unrelated issues — that’s a choice they would make, I don’t think it’s a good choice for them to make — but that would be their decision to make.
Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) have all argued that they would oppose the House short-term spending bill.
President Trump said on Thursday that a government shutdown “could happen” and that “It’s up to the Democrats” to avoid it.
“I am convinced that between Republicans who publicly said they’re [voting] no and Democrats who said they’re a ‘no,’ there are not enough votes in this chamber,” a Democratic senator told Politico.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote an email on Thursday to fellow GOP lawmakers, imploring them to stick together to pass the Senate funding bill. McConnell added that senators should stay in Washington for the weekend in case the Senate vote fails. McConnell wrote in the email:
We should all plan to stay through this weekend if Senate Democrats follow through and are willing to shut down the government and the Children’s Health Insurance Program because they have yet to conclude a deal on DACA. This is an irresponsible position to take as everything from pay for our military to processing social security checks will be affected. I hope not a single Republican is inclined to join them.
McConnell will likely call for multiple votes on the short-term spending bill, should the bill pass through the House. Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for McConnell, argued that McConnell will force Democrats to repeatedly vote against a government spending bill over the weekend.
Ferrier revealed, “If the Democrats choose to shut down the government, if that hypothetical situation happens, then yes of course the Senate will remain in session.”
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