Democrats 'Own' Looming Government Shutdown

Win McNamee  Getty Images North America

Win McNamee Getty Images North America

The Senate had approved a bill late Wednesday that extended existing funds for agencies for seven weeks, punting the funding issue into the next Congress.

The Senate has begun a procedural vote to take up a House-passed bill that would pay for President...

A handful of Republican senators are coming out in opposition to President Donald Trump's demand to end the Senate's filibuster in order to pass funding for a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border. "The bill that's on the floor of the House, everyone knows will not pass the Senate".

McConnell says the bill is neither "radical" nor hard to explain. That law included funding for increased border enforcement, but not for wall construction.

Trump's sudden rejection of the Senate-approved legislation, after days of mixed messages, sent Republican leaders scrambling for options days before Christmas.

With Pelosi's backing the bill likely has enough support to pass with votes mostly from Democratic lawmakers, who are still the minority, and some Republicans. A simple majority is now used for judicial and executive nominations but does not apply to most legislation.

He followed up later with a tweet urging McConnell to "use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!" Earlier this year, he implored McConnell to change the rules so Republicans could repeal Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

- Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 21, 2018We have rules to follow.

The White House has since softened its stance. Just last week he said he would be "proud" to shut down the government over it. We want to keep the government open.

With Washington a little more than 24 hours away from a partial government shutdown, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a spending bill that includes an additional $5 billion for President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall.

The majority party can change the rules and allow an up-or-down vote, but doing so is called "the nuclear option" because it goes against Senate traditions of bipartisanship and debate. Trump said early Friday in a tweet.

Trump unexpectedly called key Republican lawmakers to the White House Thursday for talks about the wall and the bill needed to keep about a quarter of government operations from shutting down when funding expires at midnight Friday, just ahead of the Christmas holiday next week.

He made it clear that he won't take the blame, though, announcing on Twitter shortly after 10 a.m.: "The Democrats now own the shutdown!"

But as it's shaping up, the plan is expected to fall short in the Senate.

The sense of turmoil was compounded by a falling stock market, Trump's abrupt decision to disregard advisors and allies and pull out of Syria, and the shock resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, seen as a moderating force for an impulsive president.

The president's fellow Republicans now have 51 seats in the 100-seat Senate.

That was a far cry from the campaign, when Trump promised to build a "big, handsome wall" made of concrete, rebar and steel across the length of the southern border. And it's probably going to be rejected by senators. The deadline for a deal is at midnight. The other 25%, however, includes some very important agencies, including: Homeland Security, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Transportation.

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