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Congress Likely Racing Toward A Government Shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters as he walks towards the Senate as Congress moves closer to the funding deadline to avoid a government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters as he walks towards the Senate as Congress moves closer to the funding deadline to avoid a government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Congress Likely Racing Toward A Government Shutdown
Congress Likely Racing Toward A Government Shutdown GUEST: Daniel Lippman, reporter, Politico

>> I'm Michael Lipkin in for Maureen Cavanaugh. It's Friday, January 19. The clock is ticking, leaders and President Donald Trump need to reach a budget deal by midnight tonight in DC. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, but they need Democrats to pass the funding bill. President Donald Trump met with Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer. Here's what Schumer said to reporters after the meeting. >> We had a long and detailed meeting. We discussed all the major, outstanding issues and we made some progress. But we still have a good number of discussions left. >> I spoke with the political reporter, White House budget director said that he put the odds of a government shutdown at about 60%. What is your sense of how serious this partial such -- shutdown threat is. >> It's really fluid and we don't know exactly what will go down later today. President Donald Trump invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whom Z's -- he has known for for a few decades to the White House today to try and hash out a deal. If he does make a deal with President Donald Trump and Schumer, it will be up to President Donald Trump to persuade Republicans to take it. They don't like deals being forced down the throat and President Donald Trump has a good rapport with Schumer. It is entirely possible that this shutdown could be averted because of that good relationship between the two New Yorkers. That could leave Republicans feeling like their own priorities were left off in the dust. >> In fact none of the Republicans congressional leaders are in this White House meeting with Chuck Schumer and President Donald Trump, right? >> Their invitations were lost in the mail, apparently. I think the reason why they weren't invited, it makes it much harder to make a deal if you have multiple parties into the Oval Office. President Donald Trump wants to hash this out between him and Chuck. Remember when he talked about Chuck and Nancy who we like dealing with? And, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, if they were in this meeting, they would've been telling President Donald Trump you can't cave-in on this, don't bargain down our promises, but, President Donald Trump and Schumer, they seem to be good at working things out. >> Paul Ryan and House Republicans passed their version of the short-term spending Bill last night. And of course, we are talking about the negotiations that will go on for the Senate. But you wrote this morning that house leaders seem pretty adamant that they will not pass anything else. Have they started going home for the weekend? >> There has been a lot of talk of sending the house home. But, they've been privately told, members of the rank-and-file to stay close to Washington. Don't buy your plane tickets immediately. Let's see how this works out because they don't want to recall people at the end of today. You need a number of votes in the house and they want people to have their say and just as President Donald Trump canceled his trip to Mara Lago, in advance of a shutdown or and other continuing resolution, it is bad optics if House Republicans and Democrats are fleeing town as a government shuts down. >> That's because President Donald Trump is hosting a party this weekend for the one year anniversary of his inauguration. While all this is going on, the fate of $200,000 -- 200,000 call for the dreamers and the health program known as chip is up in the air. What are the different sides? >> Democrats don't want to have the dreamers be unprotected. You have this March 8 deadline, it is coming up for all of these dreamers and Democrats think it's been way too long that these people have been in limbo. That their status should be resolved and they should be protected and Republicans say we should just keep the government out and -- open Enetai the 2 issues together. Is hard to know exactly who would get the blame for a shutdown. Republicans to control the government but they do need Democratic votes to keep the lights on. But I a lot of voters may just blame Republicans because the nuances -- but a lot of voters may just blame Republicans because of the nuances of how the Senate works. >> Both parties have started to point fingers at each other in terms of that blame even though the boat is still hours away. >> You have a lot of people in both parties the other side is not negotiating in good faith. You had a Democratic proposal which was put out, it was pretty one-sided. Republicans didn't take it seriously. But you also have Republicans who don't seem that interested in our -- protecting dreamers. But they have their own divisions in their caucus. Have people like Lindsey Graham, he is pretty pro-immigration. He wants to protect these kids in some way. He used to be a big friend of President Donald Trump. But it seems like they have cross sores -- swords lately. >> I'm wondering about the blame, in the 2013 shutdown, a letter Republicans did not get some blame, but they had victories in the 2014 midterm elections. How important is this blame? As a matter November? >> Because they municipal is so speeded up this day -- these days, November is a long way away. If we have 2 week shutdown right now and it is mid January, by March or April, I think most voters will have moved on. I think that the fundamental -- fundamentals of the country and President Donald Trump's performance and Congress, that will matter much more in November than a temporary government shutdown. We all know that the government will not shutdown forever and so people, you have second chances, I don't think that either party will get too much blame at the end of this year when the midterms rollaround. >> What are some of the practical effects of a shutdown like this? Let's say takes 2 weeks, how might people in California feel that impact? >> You have government road projects, they make it sold. But a lot of essential services would continue. You will still be able to fly around the country. The air traffic controllers will be at work. Even though President Donald Trump says the military would be affected greatly, and the Democrats hate the military, that's a basic argument he's making, we will not see our troops taken away from weather station. But the practical effect is on government workers. The bureaucrats that keep our civil servants and our government. A lot of those people would not get paid. The nonessential ones would stay at home. I remember in the 2013 government shutdown, we saw a baby boom in DC 9 months later. People with a lot of time on their hands, they have some other activities. >> One last question for you. You said that Democrats have shown more resolved than you've seen from them in a while. Meanwhile, you just mention that there are some Senate Republicans who not in support of this continuing solution. Democrats, a lot of was off, maybe not so much of the Republican side. What you make of this dynamic? >> I think Democrats feel confident that they will do very well in November. Although, some of the red state Democrats, they are less sure of themselves and they don't want a shutdown because they think it would hurt them in those Trump states. But, the Democrats feel like opinion polls are on their side. Most Americans don't want these dreamers to get kicked out. They say we should just protect these kids, these teenagers, these young adults. And why was a government shutting down in the first place? So, that Democrats, they have grown a spine since the last time we had this going on. They feel like history is on their side and President Donald Trump, people would blame him. He is a pretty new head of politics. In his first year, he could be presided -- presiding over government shutdown. It took Obama 5 years to get to that point. >> I been speaking with political reporter Daniel Lippmann. Thank you for joining us.

A bitterly divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.

Republicans controlling the narrowly split chamber took up the fight, arguing that Democrats were holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect "dreamer" immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.


As a shutdown loomed, the White House said Friday that President Donald Trump would not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a funding bill passes. Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Palm Beach estate.

Trump entered the fray early Friday morning, mentioning the House-approved bill on Twitter, adding: "Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!"

Administration officials said Trump had been actively engaged, calling lawmakers late into the night Thursday. They said the White House remained hopeful that a deal would be reached, arguing that Democrats would be blamed for a shutdown.

RELATED: Democrats Dig In On Immigration, Shutdown Risk Or No

Republican made the same argument.


"Democratic senators' fixation on illegal immigration has already blocked us from making progress on long-term spending talks," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "That same fixation has them threatening to filibuster funding for the government."

In the House, Republicans muscled the measure through on a mostly party-line 230-197 vote after making modest concessions to chamber conservatives and defense hawks. House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately summoned reporters to try to pin the blame on top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.

A test vote on a filibuster by Senate Democrats appeared likely before the shutdown deadline of Friday at midnight. Schumer was rebuffed in an attempt to vote Thursday night.

"We can't keep kicking the can down the road," said Schumer, insisting on more urgency in talks on immigration. "In another month, we'll be right back here, at this moment, with the same web of problems at our feet, in no better position to solve them."

The measure would be the fourth stopgap spending bill since the current budget year started in October. A pile of unfinished Capitol Hill business has been on hold, first as Republicans ironed out last fall's tax bill and now as Democrats insist on progress on immigration. Talks on a budget deal to ease tight spending limits on both the Pentagon and domestic agencies are on hold, as is progress on a huge $80 billion-plus disaster aid bill.

House GOP leaders sweetened the pending stopgap measure with legislation to extend for six years a popular health care program for children from low-income families and two-year delays in unpopular "Obamacare" taxes on medical devices and generous employer-provided health plans.

A shutdown would be the first since 2013, when tea party Republicans — in a strategy not unlike the one Schumer is employing now — sought to use a must-pass funding bill to try to force then-President Barack into delaying implementation of his marquee health care law.

RELATED: Trump Adds Confusion To Government Shutdown Concern

Democrats want a deal to protect around 700,000 immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S. as children and have stayed here illegally. Trump has ended an Obama-era program providing those protections and given Congress until March to restore them, and he and Republicans want any immigration deal to include money for the president's promised wall along the Mexican border and other security measures.

Congress must act by midnight Friday or the government will begin immediately locking its doors. Though the impact would initially be spotty — since most agencies would be closed until Monday — the story would be certain to dominate weekend news coverage, and each party would be gambling the public would blame the other.

In the event of a shutdown, food inspections, federal law enforcement, airport security checks, and other vital services would continue, as would Social Security, other federal benefit programs and military operations. But federal workers wouldn't be paid.