It appears increasingly likely that Democrats will shut down the government rather than agree to pass a short-term continuing resolution that would keep it funded.
JUST IN: Democrats have enough votes to block the spending bill in the Senate and prevent Republicans from keeping the government up and running, senior Democratic aide tells @NBCNews
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 18, 2018
— POLITICO (@politico) January 18, 2018
Notice how both tweets are framing this: Democrats are announcing they can and will shut down the government. But clearly, that’s not a good message for Democrats who are hoping to blame the shutdown on Republicans. So if you actually click that link, Politico’s story is headlined “Shutdown looms as Republicans struggle for votes.”
The possibility of a government shutdown grew dramatically Thursday as House and Senate GOP leaders struggled to round up the votes to keep the government open past midnight Friday…
Senate Democrats said they’re confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold.
“I’m concerned that we, yeah, we may not have 60 votes in the Senate,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said Thursday morning. “And I think that’s obviously problematic.”
If you’re wondering why the GOP needs 60 votes, that’s because Democrats plan to filibuster the bill. Democrats are more united than they have been in the past, largely because of Trump’s recent comments about “s**thole” countries:
Democrats seem to have only become more emboldened after Trump’s recent comments about immigrants from Africa, El Salvador and Haiti coming from “shithole countries.”
Those remarks have hardened Democrats’ position against backing any funding bill without a deal on DACA. Despite Ryan’s efforts to entice Democrats with provisions to fund a popular children’s health insurance bill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) caucus appears unified in opposition, forcing Republicans to rely on their own members.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems close to conceding that a shutdown is likely to happen. A separate story at Politico says he is planning to keep the Senate in session over the weekend and force Democrats from red states to repeatedly vote against the bill which includes funding for CHIP, the health insurance program for children.
“They will own this shutdown and we will take these votes over and over so they are on record. General polls [about] how [Republicans] suck do not matter. We are looking at the Trump states where we need pick up seats. And we will go after them aggressively,” said a senior Republican aide working on party strategy.
McConnell is likely to repeatedly call up the funding bill and make Democrats vote it down, provided the House passes its bill on Thursday. A spokeswoman for McConnell confirmed the Senate will stay in session in the event of the shutdown.
“If the Democrats choose to shut down the government, if that hypothetical situation happens, then yes of course the Senate will remain in session,” said Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for McConnell.
So far, Sen. Manchin of West Virginia has said he will vote for the bill. Sen. Heitkamp of North Dakota is undecided. Threatening to make some of these Senators take multiple votes could sober some of them up, but for the moment it appears Democrats’ desire to get protection for DACA recipients now, without making a deal for border protection, is pushing them toward a shutdown.
Despite the fact that Democrats are openly trumpeting their desire for a shutdown in advance, you can bet that by this weekend their media surrogates will be on TV blaming the GOP for this.
Update: The House has passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded. From Politico:
The House voted 230-197 to keep the government funded for four more weeks, but prospects of a shutdown still hinge on the Senate.
Federal funding will lapse at midnight Friday if Republican leaders can’t secure 60 votes to pass the measure in the Senate, where some GOP lawmakers plan to vote against it and Democratic support is uncertain without an immigration deal.