Both failed, as expected. Trump’s bill earning fewer votes in a Republican-held Senate than Schumer’s clean funding bill was not expected. That’s an embarrassment to POTUS.
They needed 60 to beat the filibuster for both bills, which seemed impossible from the moment announced Trump his offer this past weekend. A temporary extension for DACA recipients in exchange for the wall seemed too little to pry loose any jittery Democrats and too much by way of amnesty to keep all 53 Republicans corralled. “I’d be surprised if the proposal gets more than one Democratic vote and would say there’s an outside chance that it ends up with fewer than 50, let alone 60,” I wrote on Saturday, adding that Tom Cotton seemed especially unlikely to ruin his immigration superhawk brand by voting yes.
I was almost right. Trump got one Democratic vote, Cotton ended up on the other side, but his bill didn’t end up with fewer than 50 votes. It got exactly 50.
Democratic voting yes:
Republicans voting no:
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 24, 2019
Cotton is obviously running for president in 2024 and isn’t going to let anyone get to his right on immigration in his pursuit of Trump’s populist base. Mike Lee probably isn’t running but goes his own way on big votes. Neither vote is surprising, although it makes the White House look like chumps that they larded up Trump’s bill with provisions cracking down on the asylum process in a futile attempt to try to get all 53 Republicans to vote yes. Didn’t happen. Which leaves the GOP’s leverage … where? The point of today’s vote was to show, at a minimum, that the caucus was unified behind Trump. They aren’t. He can’t get unanimity within his own team for a modest compromise. If Trump can’t deliver Republicans, how can Pelosi and Schumer negotiate a deal with him?
But the real embarrassment was still to come. The second vote this afternoon, on the Democrats’ bill to fund and re-open the government ASAP, got 52 votes.
Republicans voting YES:
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2019
All Democrats in attendance voted yes, which was how they ended up at 52 overall. (Jacky Rosen of Nevada was absent.) Romney will take a beating here from the right even though he was only one of six GOPers to switch sides for Schumer’s bill, but it’s Cotton and Lee who made the difference. Had they fallen in line and backed Trump’s bill, each legislative proposal would have ended up with 52 votes. As it is, Schumer can and doubtless will walk out this afternoon and tell reporters that Trump’s lost control of his caucus and that the upshot of today’s two floor votes is that there’s more support in a Republican Senate for ending the shutdown immediately than there is for the White House’s best offer on the wall.
Exit question: Is this the outcome McConnell wanted? He wants this shutdown over ASAP too, no matter what he says publicly. Every day that passes with the government closed increases the risk to Republican candidates next year. If he wanted to demonstrate to Trump that an endless standoff is losing support in Congress, a pair of votes like this would do it. Maybe he quietly told Cotton and Lee to feel free to vote how they liked on Trump’s bill, no party loyalty required.
Update: Beware of secondhand information from Graham, but …
GRAHAM: "Just got off the phone with the president and told him we're talking about a three week continuing resolution."
He said the president indicated what he would want in a 3 week CR and that those proposals are being discussed by Leaders McConnell & Schumer right now.
— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) January 24, 2019
Sounds like Trump’s demanding something as part of a short-term deal. What is it?
Update: Ah. This is a nonstarter, then.
From colleague John Roberts. Sarah Sanders tells Fox News “The President would consider a CR only if it includes a down payment on the wall.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 24, 2019
His bill just got fewer votes than the Democratic bill in a chamber controlled by his party and he’s still insisting on wall money in a short-term bill? Seems unlikely.