House votes to avert government shutdown, path in Senate unclear

The House voted Thursday night to avert a government shutdown, sending the bill on to the Senate, where its future is...

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 10:37 AM

The House voted Thursday night to avert a government shutdown, sending the bill on to the Senate, where its future is much less certain.

Shortly before the House vote, the Freedom Caucus said a majority of its members would vote to support a stopgap spending measure, a key sign that holdout conservatives who had been undecided earlier had come on board.

House Speaker Paul Ryan can't rely on Democrats to vote to fund the government

Conservative factions of the Republican Party also haven't decided how they'll vote

Whether the Senate can pass such a measure ahead of a Friday midnight deadline is a different issue altogether. Because the measure will need 60 votes to pass the chamber to break a filibuster, Republican leaders need as many as more than a dozen Democrats.

In the House, Republicans couldn't count on any Democrats, who said they would not support a short-term spending bill that funds the government into mid-February if it does not include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which expires in March. That left House Speaker Paul Ryan looking to pass the spending bill with just GOP votes.

The Wisconsin Republican and his lieutenants were up against the clock and their own ranks as they scrambled to lock down votes, and that was before President Donald Trump tweeted that a key sweetener for Senate Democrats -- a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program -- shouldn't be included in a short-term measure. The White House later said in a statement that Trump supported keeping the government funded, but the incident illustrated the uphill battle Republicans leaders faced during a day full of whipping votes.

Later Thursday, Trump called into a meeting of the House Freedom Caucus to push for the proposal. Later the group's chairman Mark Meadows, met with Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

After the vote's passage, Ryan called out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of the Senate vote.

"Senator Schumer," he said in a news conference, "do not shut down the government."

A GOP source close to the process complained that Trump did not spend much time working the phones to find the votes for the continuing resolution.

"He didn't weigh in until right before the vote," the source said, describing it as "annoying."

A separate source in touch with the White House and Freedom Caucus said Trump and Meadows had been working around Ryan. Trump seemed frustrated that Ryan appeared to be struggling to find the votes, the source said.

Trump's CHIP tweet

Trump tweeted earlier Thursday a message that was originally interpreted as disparaging of the current proposal to keep the government funded, though congressional Republicans later said the President was fully on board with that plan.

"CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!" Trump tweeted.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, sent a tweet that was seen as a response to Trump's tweet, clarifying that the short-term measure to keep the government included a six-year re-authorization.

"The current house Continuing Resolution package has a six-year extension of CHIP, not a 30 day extension," Cornyn wrote.

Ryan said at a news conference Thursday that whipping efforts on the proposal are "doing fine" and that Trump's tweet on CHIP was not causing "problems at all."

"I have confidence we'll pass this because I think members understand, why on earth would we want to have a government shutdown, hurt the military ... that is not in anyone's interest," Ryan said, adding that he spoke with Trump earlier in the morning and that the President "fully supports" their plan.

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah issued a statement pushing to keep the government funded and didn't mention CHIP.

"The President supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House," Shah said. "Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two year budget caps deal. However, as the deal is negotiated, the President wants to ensure our military and national security are funded. He will not let it be held hostage by Democrats."

How will conservative House members vote?

For most of the week, conservative House members were still a major question mark.

Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, told reporters Wednesday he didn't believe GOP leaders had the votes to pass it because of the internal divisions. He didn't rule out supporting it, saying he spoke to Trump and met with the chief deputy whip, Rep. Patrick McHenry, a fellow GOP North Carolinian.

Asked about Meadows' saying he's a no and others in the Freedom Caucus planning to oppose the bill, McCarthy tweaked his GOP colleagues, saying "they want a shutdown? I don't think they'd want to shut down."

While reluctant to pass yet another short-term continuing resolution -- the fourth in just months -- many rank-and-file members seemed mostly resigned Wednesday to the fact that it was the only option, even if they were not happy about it.

"What other choice do have this week," asked New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur. "I'm certainly not going to vote to shut the government down. That's irresponsible."

During a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning, GOP leaders made the pitch that the stopgap bill was the only path to keeping talks going on a broader budget deal and a separate effort to come up with a bipartisan compromise on DACA. Without a unified Republican conference heading into that vote, leaders would be forced to give concessions to Democrats in order to get their support and avoid any shutdown.

"There seemed to be a consensus with the cards that we have that this is the best way to play it," North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Walker said after the meeting. He called the latest short term bill "a proverbial crap sandwich," but said at this juncture he supported it.

Republicans added sweeteners to the bill, hoping to make it tough for Democrats to oppose it. Besides CHIP, they also delayed some taxes from the Affordable Care Act -- one on medical devices and another on high-cost, so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans, which they believe it would be tough for those Democrats in swing districts to vote against.

House Democratic leaders are urging their members to oppose the measure because it fails to address DACA, according to Democratic sources.

In the Senate

In the Senate, it was still unclear exactly how Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would manage to get the votes. McConnell, unlike, Ryan needs Democrats. And many Democrats were keeping their powder dry as to how they would vote, waiting on the House to lay their cards on the table and prove they had the GOP votes on their own to pass the continuing resolution.

Senate Democrats are also caught in a tough spot. A handful are running for re-election in states where Trump handily won in 2016. Red state Democrats don't want to run the risk of being labeled as responsible for a shutdown.

"I want to keep the government open. I'm just going to work and work and work to keep the government open," West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said.

But others are under pressure from their liberal base who mobilized when lawmakers voted for a short-term spending bill last time around.

Several Democrats who voted for the last continuing resolution including both senators from Virginia and New Mexico announced in the past 24 hours that they would vote against this current proposal.

Others say they are just tired of the whole exercise: Congress using short-term spending bills to kick the can down the road only to return to do it again a month later.

"I'm just tired of voting for CRs," said Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

This story has updated with additional developments and will continue to update throughout Thursday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 45°
Columbus
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Starkville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 45°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather