Trump Vows To Stay In DC Until Shutdown Averted As GOP Scrambles To Pass Stopgap Bill

Update: The torrent of conflicting headlines continued Friday morning, with the White House reportedly bracing for a shutdown that could last into next week. Republicans are bracing for a protracted battle over DACA.

 

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A weekend government shutdown is looking more likely by the minute as the GOP's senate leadership scrambles to entice Democrats into supporting a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open until Feb. 16.

The White House just announced that President Trump will remain in Washington until a shutdown is averted. He was supposed to head to Mar-a-Lago at 4 pm. Mitch McConnell has already said he will keep the session open this weekend if a shutdown fix isn't decided before then.

One CNN reporter tweeted that the current White House thinking is that there will be a deal today - even if it isn't until midnight - and that Democrats might show signs of caving by proposing a short-term deal.

But President Trump's "shithole" comment appears to have galvanized Democrats who, in a fit of self-righteousness, are insisting they will remain united in opposition to the funding plan unless they can extract concessions like an agreement on DACA, funding to combat the opioid crisis and  like an agreement on DACA, funding to combat the opioid crisis and aid for Puerto Rico.

Yesterday before the House vote, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, said Speaker Paul Ryan's attempt to lure Democratic votes by including spending to reauthorize a popular children's health-insurance program was tantamount to handing Democrats a pile of "doo-doo". Though the House managed to pass the stopgap plan, it appears a similar sentiment has taken hold in the Senate.

Trump has delighted in the coming showdown, tweeting this morning that there might be a "shutdown coming" if Democrats try to insist on "illegal immigration and weak borders" - though Trump has repeatedly said he'd consider a DACA fix.

With a crucial midterm election right around the corner, Democrats gamble on forcing a shutdown carries significant risks, as the New York Times  pointed out. If Democrats vote the bill down, the move would hold undeniable risks. Ten Senate Democrats are running for re-election in states that Trump won in 2016, and many of those states - such as Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia - may hold little sympathy for one of the primary causes of the looming shutdown: protecting young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. Meanwhile, they might be critical of Democrats who voted against funding the military and renewing funding for the CHIP measure.

“If Senate Democrats obstruct this legislation — and as a result shut down the government — they have made the decision to cut off pay to our troops and block children’s health care funding they support,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader.

As the New York Post reminds us, McConnell would have to get at least 11 Democratic votes to reach the 60 needed to avoid a shutdown by the deadline.

“We should all plan to stay through this weekend if Senate Democrats follow through and are willing to shut down the government and the Children’s Health Insurance Program because they have yet to conclude a deal on DACA,” McConnell wrote in an email to his caucus.

Trump has made it clear - most recently in an interview with Reuters - that he's taking a hard-line approach to immigration, though the White House still nominally supports DACA.

The standoff on immigration dates back to September, when Trump cancelled the Obama-era DACA protections, which shield the young immigrants from deportation. Democrats have been eager to enshrine into law protections for those immigrants. The protections are set to expire in March, though several lawsuits have sought to reverse the decision.