Revenge of the lame ducks
The House is out until Wednesday and the current CR expires on Friday, December 21st.
Congress has several paths to follow by then:
- Pass all 7 outstanding FY 19 appropriations bills,
- Pass 6 (Ag, CJS, FSGG, Interior, State/FOPs, THUD) bills and put HS into a CR (through January, February or September 30th),
- Pass a year long CR for all 7 bills, or
- End with a partial government shutdown
The New York Times reports that the outcome hinges on whether the Republicans can get enough votes to pass a bill with the President’s request for a $5B southern border wall. To do that, they need all hands on deck and currently they are seeing the “revenge of the lame ducks.”:
“…House Republican leaders are also confronting a more mundane and awkward problem: Their vanquished and retiring members are sick and tired of Washington and don’t want to show up anymore to vote.”
Appropriators want to finish their work and are not happy with the inaction:
“Some of the lawmakers who have helped negotiate the current spending bills have voiced frustration that their work – the first time in years that the two chambers had passed a number of spending bills in regular order – may be derailed in the closing moments of this year’s session.
“‘We have worked too hard,’ said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska. ‘Let’s just get this done.'”
Senator McConnell’s role
The Hill reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is in a pivotal role this week.
He has said on the record that he doesn’t want a shutdown but President Trump’s declaration last week that he would proudly own a shutdown puts him in a tight spot.
[Trump’s] “statement flew in the face of the Senate GOP leadership’s strategy to blame the shutdown on Schumer and the Democrats.
“Still, McConnell’s priority is to maintain unity with Trump.
“‘It makes absolutely no sense to negotiate against yourself,’ said Josh Holmes, McConnell’s former chief of staff. ‘This is not a complicated issue.'”
This week is going to be about who will blink first as The Hill lays out the drama:
“It’s unclear what kind of bill Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who is retiring at the end of the year, will bring to the House floor for a vote. It’s unclear how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will treat anything that comes out of the House. And it’s unclear whether Trump will follow through on his threat to veto any spending bill that doesn’t give him the full $5 billion for the wall.”
White House is dug in
The Associated Press is reporting that it won’t be the White House that blinks first:
“‘We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,’ White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday.”
“Asked if that meant having a government shutdown, he said: ‘If it comes to it, absolutely.'”
Or is it?
Politico Pro reported on Friday that the President might be coming around to some sort of a compromise:
“President Donald Trump is mulling the prospect of making a counter-offer to Democratic leaders that would prevent a partial government shutdown and kick the border wall fight into next year, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations.”
‘There is universal agreement that the decision about whether to keep the government open rests with the president. Trump said during a contentious, televised Oval Office meeting on Tuesday with House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would be ‘proud’ to shut down the government if Democrats refuse him the $5 billion in funding for his border wall.”
“But Trump appeared to backtrack on Thursday, writing in a tweet: ‘Let’s not do a shutdown, Democrats – do what’s right for the American people!'”
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