Friday, January 19, 2018

Shutdown likely as Trump fuels chaos in Congress

House approves bill to keep government open as Senate Democrats take heat for threatening to block it (Washington Post).

The House passed a short-term extension of government funding late Thursday after Republican leaders, with help from President Trump, cobbled together enough GOP votes to overcome an internal revolt.

Still, the possibility of a federal shutdown moved closer to a certainty after Senate Democrats rallied against the GOP proposal, announcing they would not lend their votes to a bill that did not reflect their priorities on immigration, government spending and other issues.

By Thursday evening, nine Senate Democrats who had voted for a prior spending measure in December said they would not support the latest proposed four-week extension, joining 30 other Democrats and at least two Senate Republicans — and leaving the bill short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Remember that Trump blew up an earlier spending deal that included DACA. That deal, pushed by Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, appeared to have the items that Trump wanted but then the immigration hardliners got Trump’s ear and Trump ended up creating a shit-storm by referring to “shithole countries.”

We don’t have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said. “This has turned into an s-show for no good reason.”

Schumer called Trump and his administration “agents of chaos” who have foiled attempts to reach a bipartisan agreement on immigration, which remained the most salient sticking point Thursday.

“The one thing standing in our way is the unrelenting flow of chaos from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Schumer said. “It has reduced the Republicans to shambles. We barely know who to negotiate with.”

Jonathon Blitzer reports that Lindsey Graham Spent a Year Courting Trump, But on Immigration He’s Being Shut Out (New Yorker).

Trump’s [“shithole countries”] outburst destabilized the negotiations. “We had a President that I was proud to golf with, call my friend,” Graham said on Tuesday, during a Senate hearing. “I don’t know where that guy went, but I want him back.” He came up short of blaming the President for the setback, however, and instead faulted the White House. “We cannot do this with people in charge at the White House who have an irrational view of how to fix immigration,” Graham told reporters later. In this, he was likely referring not just to Miller but also to John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff. “Miller and Kelly are to the right of the President on immigration,” someone close to the White House told me. “The two of them were with the President just before the Oval Office meeting with Graham and Durbin, and the President got really worked up.”

Graham (and Schumer) should have known better. Trump is the guy who cannot be trusted to keep his word about anything, who lies about everything, and who stiffed his contractors. Here’s more from the Post.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders were having trouble smoothing out a wrinkle in their plans to blame a shutdown on Democrats: Hard-line House conservatives demanded concessions in return for their votes, casting doubt on whether the funding patch would even reach the Senate.

All but a few House Democrats said they would not support the bill without an immigration or long-term budget deal.

“If we can’t agree, your party has the majority in the House and the Senate to pass your own funding resolution. But that will be a bill we cannot support,” 171 of 193 House Democrats wrote in a letter to Ryan on Thursday.

While Ryan worked the House floor during an afternoon vote series, trying to lock down votes for the patch, leaders of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus tried to persuade Republicans to withhold their votes.

“I promise you he doesn’t have the votes,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), heading to a closed-door Freedom Caucus meeting, where Trump called in to try to win over restive conservatives.

Remember these guys?

Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) then went into Ryan’s office, where they hashed out a deal with Republican leaders to secure future votes on measures that would increase defense spending and tighten immigration laws. With that accord in place, the House voted 230 to 197 to pass the legislation. Only six Democrats broke ranks to support it.

Top leaders of both parties continued meeting Thursday to seek an immigration compromise, but no agreement appeared to be in sight. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.), leaving a meeting with other deputy leaders, rejected the idea that a deal to protect dreamers could be concluded by Friday evening at midnight. “No, no,” he told reporters.

The government shutdown causing employee furloughs has never occurred under unified party control of Congress and the White House.

Until now, that is.

The ‘shit-show’ shutdown appears likely reports the Arizona Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona. The Meanie covers the politicking including CHIP funding (a ploy to get Dems to vote for Ryan’s bill) and the blame game unfolding minute by minute.

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