Senators said Friday evening that they would not vote on any additional legislation to keep the government open past midnight until the president strikes a deal with Democrats.
They voted to proceed on a motion to consider a House bill that cannot pass, so that they would have a legislative vehicle for an eventual agreement, if one is to be arrived at.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a dinnertime update that it is clear that it will take the support of Senate Democrats to overcome a 60-vote threshold and a presidential signature to turn whatever legislation is passed into law.
‘I hope Senate Democrats will work with the White House on an agreement that can pass both houses of Congress and receive the president’s signature,’ he added. ‘So colleagues, when an agreement is reached, it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.’
Putting McConnell’s announcement in plain English, retiring Sen. Bob Corker said, ‘We’re not voting on anything else in this chamber relative to this issue, until a global agreement has been reached between the president, and these two leaders and the leader of the House.
‘And there won’t be test votes. Not gonna be a tabling vote,’ he said. ‘What this does, I think is push this ahead to a negotiation that yields result and does the best we can to keep from shutting down government, or if it does shut down, shutting down very briefly.’
The president responded with a tweet shortly after that suggested he was biding his time, waiting for Democratic leaders to call him. He shared a photo of himself behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of folios containing recently-passed legislation.
‘Some of the many Bills that I am signing in the Oval Office right now,’ he said. ‘Cancelled my trip on Air Force One to Florida while we wait to see if the Democrats will help us to protect America’s Southern Border!’
The president responded with a tweet shortly after that suggested he was biding his time, waiting for Democratic leaders to call him. He shared a photo of himself behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of folios containing recently-passed legislation
President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence were on Capitol Hill negotiating on his behalf on Friday evening in a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown.
At the White House, a senior official wouldn’t comment on the deal that the Kushner, Pence and Mick Mulvaney reportedly offered, but told DailyMail.com: ‘We are still discussing, listening, and working to find way to fund border security and keep the government open.’
Minutes later, McConnell took the floor to provide a state of play. He said that Republican senators support the president’s request for a $5 billion border wall, but they also want to keep the government from collapsing tonight.
‘As a result, the Senate has voted to proceed to the legislation before us in order to preserve maximum flexibility for productive conversations to continue between the White House and our Democratic colleagues,’ McConnell said in a floor speech.
Furtive negotiations were taking place on both sides of the Capitol and lawmakers rushed to prevent a midnight shutdown that will affect 25 percent of the government.
A spokesman for Sen. Schumer suggested that the trio didn’t get the job done, however.
The Democratic lawmaker laid out three paths for the president to avoid a shutdown — none of which include the $5 billion he’s seeking for his border wall.
‘Leader Schumer reminded them that any proposal with funding for the wall will not pass the Senate and that the two proposals that leader Pelosi and he offered the President in the Oval Office last week are both still on the table,’ the person said.
A bill that passed in the Senate unanimously by voice vote this week that could be brought for a vote in the House to ‘avoid a shutdown if the President signaled he would sign it’ is also a possibility.
‘Leader Schumer made clear that all three of these proposals contain border security funding – without the wall – and could pass both chambers,’ Schumer’s office said.
President Donald Trump sent his son-in-law Jared along with his incoming chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to negotiate with the Senate Democratic leader
KEY MOMENTS IN THE SHUTDOWN FIGHT
6:50 AM: President Trump begins his day by instructing Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader who controls the Senate, to fight for the border wall ‘as hard as he fought for anything’ and brands it a ‘Democrat Shutdown’ if a deal isn’t brokered.
10:30 AM: Mitch McConnell comes to the White House for a meeting with Trump and Republican senators that lasts more than an hour.
10:39 AM: Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer fires back at Trump, telling him ‘you own the shutdown—your own words,’ as he reminds him that he said he would be ‘proud’ to do it and would take ‘the blame’ during their Oval Office clash.
12:15 PM: Trump tells reporters ‘the chances are probably very good’ that there will be a shutdown.
‘We are going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate. There’s a very good chance it won’t get passed. It’s up to the Democrats. So, it’s really the Democrat shutdown.’
4:00 PM: President Trump sends senior advisor Jared Kushner, incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to meet with Chuck Schumer.
They were also seen meeting with GOP leaders.
5:40 PM: A senior White House official tells DailyMail.com: ‘We are still discussing, listening, and working to find way to fund border security and keep the government open.’
5:50 PM: McConnell says the next vote that takes place will be on whatever deal he and Democratic leaders are able to strike with the president.
Schumer and Trump are in a war of words over the fate of last-minute funding legislation that could head off a partial government shutdown.
Trump insisted Friday that Democrats will ‘own’ the result, despite saying 10 days earlier that he wouldn’t blame them for the government closure that he’d be ‘proud’ to oversee.
‘It’s up to the Democrats,’ he said in the Oval Office during a criminal justice bill signing. ‘It’s really, the Democrat shutdown, because we’ve done our thing.’
Schumer said on the Senate floor that it’s the president who ‘has us careening towards a Trump shutdown over Christmas,’ as he told Trump that he would not meet his border security demands.
‘President Trump, you will not get your wall. Abandon your shutdown strategy. You’re not getting the wall today, next week or on January 3,’ Schumer said. ‘You own the shutdown—your own words,’ he tweeted.
But Trump refused to back down, admitting at the White House that the ‘chances are probably very good’ that a shutdown could take place.
‘I hope we don’t, but, we’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown. And this is our only chance that we’ll ever have,’ he said, ‘because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security.’
Trump had already said he expected a shutdown over the holidays if he didn’t get his border wall funding.
‘Shutdown today if Democrats do not vote for Border Security!’ he said in a tweet.
A House bill that would keep the government open passed Thursday evening that includes $5 billion to fund construction of Trump’s long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump said it’s ‘totally up to Democrats’ whether the government remains open past midnight, just 10 days after insisting that he would take the blame if a shutdown happens
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer framed a potential government shutdown as President Donald Trump’s fault, while Trump tweeted that Democrats would ‘own’ it if they refused to help pass a budget extension that funds his border wall
Trump’s change of heart, tweeted Friday morning
Schumer threw Trump’s December 11 words in his face, tweeting video of the president assuring him that he would take all the blame
That measure is dead-on-arrival in the Senate unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changes the rules to allow for a simple majority to pass it.
But after a meeting with McConnell, Trump claimed at the White House that ‘it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight.’
‘It’s possible that we’ll have a shutdown, I would say the chances are probably very good, because I don’t think Democrats care so much about, maybe, this issue, but this is a very big issue.’
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley also concluded a shutdown was ‘probably’ on the horizon after the hour-long meeting between the president and Senate Republicans.
He said there was ‘no conclusion’ on next steps after the huddle at the Oval Office.
McConnell has refused to change the Senate rules for two years and said Friday that in any other political environment Democrats would be willing to fund a border wall.
‘Let’s not end this year the way we began it, with another shutdown over the issue of illegal immigration,’ he said in a floor speech. ‘Remember this back in January? All because the Democrats are unwilling to support common-sense measures to address it.’
The Senate was holding a vote open on Friday afternoon to allow lawmakers who had already left Washington to return. It was stalled at 46 for and 48 against early in the evening as the two sides continued to barter.
If the Senate votes down the House bill that has the border wall funding, the president says he will let the government shutdown rather than sign a Senate-passed measure that does not fund his wall but keeps the government open until Feb. 8.
His spokeswoman said Thursday evening that he wouldn’t depart today for Palm Beach, as previously planned, for his Christmas holiday in the event of a shutdown.
A departure to Florida was not on the president’s schedule on Friday, and the Federal Aviation Administration canceled flight restrictions over the president’s private club for the entirety of his holiday.
Other than his nixing his own holiday, it wasn’t clear what the president planned to do if there was a shutdown or how long he would let one continue.
‘At this point we’re taking it day by day,’ strategic communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp said Friday morning on Fox Business. ‘This is a moment in time to get this done. For too long we’ve been waiting for additional funds for border security,’ she added.
The president declined to say how long he’d let a shutdown go on when prodded by reporters after his bill signing on Friday.
‘I’ll be honest. This is such an incredible moment, what we’ve just done, criminal justice reform, that I just don’t think it’s appropriate to be talking about [other topics],’ he stated.
The border wall is Trump’s best-known campaign promise. He’s said since the day he jumped into the 2016 race that he would build a wall fight illegal immigration.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was optimistic on Friday morning about the passage of Trump’s border security measure as she spoke to reporters after a Fox News appearance.
‘Well let’s hope they don’t,’ she said of the likelihood that there will be a no vote. ‘I mean the senate and particularly Senate Democrats have a constitutional duty to protect the people of this country, and we hope they step up and fulfill it today,’ she said.
Republicans control 51 seats in the upper chamber, and need nine Democrats to side with them, based on long-standing rules for Senate’s operations, to overcome a filibuster
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to change the Senate rules for two years and said Friday that in any other political environment Democrats would be willing to fund a border wall
It was the White House’s hope, she indicated, that disaster relief funds that had been added would convince reticent Democrats in the Senate to stomach the funds Trump wants for his border wall.
She said Senate Democrats will be responsible for a shutdown, because they are refusing to go along with the House bill that ‘fulfills all of the things that they actually have said and they’ve campaigned for,’ including border security.
‘They’ve said they want technology and fencing and steel slats which is exactly what we’re happy to put up,’ she said. ‘So the idea that they are now opposed to something simply because it’s something the president wants, and that’s sad, and that’s the big story that should be coming out today.’
Senate Republicans who share Trump’s beliefs were begging him not to shut down the government on Friday morning.
Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who is days from retirement, said in a Friday morning statement: ‘I’ve long said that eliminating the legislative filibuster would be a mistake. It’s what’s prevented our country for decades from sliding toward liberalism. It’s inconvenient sometimes, but requiring compromise is in the interest of both parties in the long term.’
The House vote was a symbolic victory for the president and his last chance to get the money he needs before Democrats take control of the House next year.
But the victory is bittersweet. While it passed the House, both sides have acknowledged it’s dead-on-arrival in the Senate ahead of Friday’s deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.
And the lack of next steps has increased the odds that deadline won’t be met.
‘Everyone knows it can’t pass the Senate. It’s a cynical attempt, a cynical attempt to just hurt innocent people and do just what President Trump wants,’ Schumer said Thursday night of the House measure.
Republicans control 51 seats in the upper chamber, and need nine Democrats to side with them, based on long-standing rules for Senate’s operations, to overcome a filibuster.
Trump told McConnell to throw them out and pass his border wall funding with a simple majority this morning as the nation stared down its second government shutdown since the start the year.
‘Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!’ the president said.