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“Enough Is Enough” Lindsey Graham Will Not Vote For Stopgap Bill

Update 6: After expressing tentative support for the bill Wednesday morning, Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, reversed course and confirmed Wednesday afternoon that, as of today, he is a “no” on the stopgap spending bill.

Furthermore, Meadows hinted that there are 26 “no” or undecided votes within the Freedom Caucus, after earlier saying saying there are more than 21 no votes in the caucus – that’s the maximum number where House Republicans could pass the bill with no Democratic support.

 

 

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell said there’s “a good chance” Congress will pass a stopgap bill by Friday. However, McConnell said he’ll be more convinced about the chances for a DACA agreement once he understands what the president’s position is.

 

 

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Update 5: During her daily press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House supports the the continuing resolution proposed by House Republicans, though the administration would prefer to see a more permanent deal.

“We do support the short-term continuing resolution however that’s not our first choice we still like to see a clean funding bill and a two-year budget deal but we do support the continuing resolution,” Sanders said.

“The president certainly doesn’t want a shutdown and if one happens you only have one place to look – and that’s to the Democrats.”

Another one of Trump’s aides reportedly said they’re doubtful Congress will be able to pass the CR before the funding deadline of Friday at midnight.

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Update 4: Two tweets tell you everything you need to know about the twin battles over DACA and passing another short-term continuing resolution…

 

 

 

 

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Update 3: Two more Republicans  – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan – have spoken about the stopgap spending bill. Despite Paul Ryan’s decision to include delays of unpopular Obamacare-related taxes as part of the bill, Freedom Caucus member Jordan said the bill doesn’t have the votes to pass.

Graham said he will not vote for the bill, making it increasingly unlikely that it would pass the Senate.

“We’ve got to let people know…enough is enough,” he said, indicating he’d support a comprehensive budget plan.

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Update 2: The White House reportedly plans to support the House continuing resolution on government funding, according to media reports.

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Update: Mitch McConnnell told Reuters Wednesday that lawmakers aren’t close to a long-term spending deal, and that he hopes a short-term deal will pass both chambers of Congress before the shutdown begins.

 

 

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After a tentative deal struck by a bipartisan group of senators unraveled last week amid reports that President Donald Trump had referred to El Salvador, Haiti and a host of African countries as “shitholes”,  odds of a government shutdown climbed dramatically as many observers now believe the Republican majority won’t be able to cobble together a compromise in time for the Friday at midnight deadline.

On Wednesday morning, both Republicans and Democrats were polling their caucuses after Republican leaders presented a one-month spending “stopgap” bill hoping to extend government spending until Feb. 16, thereby kicking the can yet again.

Ryan

According to the Washington Post, the bill would extend existing spending levels through Feb. 16 and include an extension of a popular children’s health insurance program – aimed at winning Democratic votes – while delaying several taxes included in the Affordable Care Act. Few lawmakers were enthusiastic about the legislation, but several described it as “a necessary evil” to avoid the first government shutdown since 2013. Though according to Politico  Republicans likely wouldn’t be able to secure passage in the House without Democratic support.

Democratic and Republican party leaders had aimed to strike a long-term spending deal – what would be the first for the Trump administration – on Friday before the deadline at midnight. But Democrats have resisted striking a deal to raise spending caps unless Republicans agree to enshrine protections for young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as minors.

While lawsuits challenging President Trump’s decision to cancel an Obama-era executive order that created DACA have yet to be resolved, protections for the 690,000 so-called Dreamers are set to expire in March unless Congress codifies the program into law, have been described as a nonnegotiable Democratic priority.

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Assuming this week’s stopgap bills passes, it would be the fourth since September. Short-term funding resolutions aren’t ideal because they make it difficult for agencies to plan their budgets, and keep government hostage to backdoor negotiations.

Among the hurdles faced by Speaker Paul Ryan is that he would need to marshal 218 Republican votes to overcome united Democratic opposition.

Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada said Republican leaders urged lawmakers to get behind the bill and make sure it could garner the votes needed without having to appeal to Democrats. “Keep the power of 218 going so you don’t weaken the majority position by having to get votes from the minority,” he said.

“We are where we are, and I think it’s important to fund the government and do these other things,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey. MacArthur accused Democrats of “the height of stubbornness” if they vote against the bill because it doesn’t include a solution for “dreamers,” hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

Ideally, Republican leaders are hoping to bring the bill to a vote on Thursday, as it is doubtful it’d be ready before then.

However, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, said that the legislation doesn’t yet have the votes needed to pass and he hasn’t decided how to vote. He dismissed the health-care tax delays as “window dressing.”

The Freedom Caucus huddled late Tuesday to discuss the legislation, and Meadows emerged dour about its prospects: “At this point with the undecided votes and no votes in the conference there are not enough votes to pass a [continuing resolution] with Republicans only,” he said.

Assuming it passes the House, the bill would then head to the Senate.

In the wake of “shithole-gate”, Democrats are coming under increasing pressure from the progressive, anti-Trump wing of the party to force the government into a shutdown if Republicans don’t concede on DACA and border-wall funding.

Democrats have leverage in the spending fight because their votes are needed to keep the government open – definitely in the Senate but possibly also in the House unless Republicans can unify behind the short-term proposal.

At this rate, a shutdown is looking increasingly likely, unless a deal comes together within the next few hours. The final legislation would still need to be drafted, distributed and debated, with little more than 48 hours left until the deadline arrives.