Will the standoff between the Republicans and the Democrats end up shutting down the government tonight? That is the question that has consumed Capitol Hill, but the way out of the woods could be a vote to end debate on a stop-gap spending bill declared by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Congress has until midnight tonight to come up with a way to avert a government shutdown, but Senate Democrats have expressed a raft of problems with the spending bill proposed by Republicans, particularly the lack of language supporting protections for immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children.
“We still have a good number of disagreements,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters after his White House meeting with President Donald Trump. “The discussions will continue.”
Schumer suggested that he and Trump had made “some progress” toward keeping the government open. Trump took to Twitter to frame the meeting as “preliminary” and to rally for a four-week extension of government funding to give all parties more time to negotiate.
“Excellent preliminary meeting in Oval with @SenSchumer – working on solutions for Security and our great Military together with @SenateMajLdr McConnell and @SpeakerRyan,” he wrote.
While Democrats have drawn a line in the sand regarding DACA, Republicans have put forth a short-term spending measure that delays certain health-care taxes and extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that Democrats and Republicans have a “really good chance” of resolving the matter before government offices re-open on Monday. That could mean that the conflict spills over into the weekend.
Three Democrats, including recent converts Sens. Joe Donnelly (IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND), said that they would vote to keep the government open. Their votes were essentially cancelled out, however, by at least two Republicans who plan to vote against the measure, meaning that McConnell would have to convince numerous more Democrats to cross the aisle to keep the government open.