No Deal: We're Heading For A Shutdown

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Posted: Dec 21, 2018 6:20 PM
No Deal: We're Heading For A Shutdown

UPDATE: Via WaPo, the shutdown is happening:

Breaking news: House lawmakers left the Capitol Friday night without passing a budget agreement, ensuring funding for several key government agencies will lapse at midnight.

The partial shutdown comes amid an impasse between President Trump and Democrats over billions in federal funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This story will be updated.

White House officials and congressional leaders were in last-minute discussions Friday in search of a deal that would avert a partial government shutdown set to start at midnight.

The Senate narrowly passed a procedural vote in the evening the Republican and Democratic leaders said preserved the possibility of a compromise, though no agreement has yet been reached.

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Well, zero hour is approaching. For most of the day, there was no deal to keep the government open, and it looked like a shutdown was very likely. President Trump was adamant that he’s not budging unless the money for part of his border wall was included in any spending agreement. This is month is his last chance to get anything done on that front, as Democrats takeover the House next Congress. It’s now or never. 

The border wall is a key campaign promise. It has to happen. With congressional Republicans’ failure to full repeal Obamacare, which they campaigned on for nearly a decade, the inability to get a wall built could have devastating impacts on the GOP with its base voters. Granted, there were health care market intricacies, tax code issues, and other obstacles that made repealing Obamacare much more complicated. This is a wall. No tax codes, no premium markets, no exchanges, no questions about constitutionality etc., it’s a wall. 

President Trump knows the Democrats will filibuster, which is why he wanted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to nuke the legislative filibuster. McConnell is not going to do that. Guy wrote about that today. For a hot second, it seemed Trump was going to sign the senate’s stopgap measure that included zero money for the border wall and funded the government until February. Luckily, the president changed his mind (via WaPo):

President Trump and Congress were locked in an impasse Friday over Trump’s border wall, hours away from a partial government shutdown and with no apparent path to prevent one.

Trump’s preferred solution — a stop-gap spending bill containing $5.7 billion for a Mexico border wall — faced near-certain defeat in the Senate, even after the president pressured Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change Senate rules to allow it to pass.

McConnell refused.

“We’re going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate,” Trump said Friday in the Oval Office before a bill-signing. “Now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t but we’ve very much prepared for a long shutdown.”

The $5.7 billion border wall and stopgap spending bill passed the House Thursday night, in a last gasp for Republicans there before they turn their majority over to Democrats in January.

[…]

Trump met with GOP Senators Friday morning, demanding wall money and pushing the nuclear option to get it, but he provided few specifics on what he would sign, according to two people present who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

The meeting frustrated some in the Senate, as the president’s repeated demands for the wall did not include any way out of a shutdown, these people said.

Lawmakers of both parties acknowledge Democrats have the votes to follow through on their vow to block the $5.7 billion in border funding from passing the Senate.

It became a game of who would blink first. Trump said it’s up to the Democrats over whether we have a shutdown, but assured them that he’s ready for the long haul should it happen. 

Earlier this evening, Fox News' Chad Pergram reported that there was movement for a spending package that included funding for a border wall. On the procedural vote, which became the longest in Senate history, Jeff Flake voted to advance the House bill. Flake had previously said he would be a "no" vote.

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LAST NOTE: Via Axios they say a partial shutdown is likely, so false alarm, folks.

The Senate passed a procedural vote Friday evening to take up a short-term spending bill passed by the House. But Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, who were initially against the motion to proceed, said they switched their vote with the understanding that the next vote they take up will be on a bill that can pass both chambers of Congress. 

The bottom line: Congress and President Trump are essentially back to square one of negotiations, with neither side willing to budge on funding for Trump's proposed border wall. With just hours until the funding deadline, this all but ensures a partial government shutdown will go into effect tonight at midnight.