US Govt. Shutdown appears imminent : Senate sets vote that’s likely to fail

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Temporary government funding runs out at midnight Friday and there’s still no agreement on a temporary extension. Democrats are demanding that a stopgap include a provision permanently shielding some undocumented immigrants from deportation, while Republicans want to keep that issue separate from funding and budget negotiations.

Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day:
McConnell Sets 10 p.m. Showdown Vote (7:09 p.m.)

The Senate is scheduled to hold a 10 p.m. procedural vote on the House-passed temporary government funding bill that is almost certain to fail, setting up a partial government shutdown as of midnight unless Democrats and Republicans can come up with a last-minute deal to break their stalemate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the vote. But Democrats said they have the votes to block it and at least two Republicans planned to join them in opposition.
Despite optimism from the White House, No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn said the odds of the government closing down at midnight are rising.

“The government shuts down in five hours and 40 minutes and there’s no solution,” Cornyn of Texas said at the Capitol.

— Laura Litvan, Sahil Kapur.

Budget Chief Predicts Deal in 24 Hours (6:01 p.m.)

The White House budget director predicted Republicans and Democrats would strike a deal in the next 24 hours to provide temporary funding for the government that would let federal agencies open on schedule Monday.

“I think there’s a deal in the next 24 hours,” Mick Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget said on CNN. “Because of the nature of the back and forth between the House and the Senate, I look at more of in terms of what gets done before the offices are supposed to open on Monday.”

President Donald Trump spoke by phone with House Speaker Paul Ryan and met at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as part of the effort to break the stalemate. But there were no public signs of that an agreement was imminent.

A Republican congressional aide confirmed the president’s call with Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, but gave no details. A few hours earlier, Schumer had returned to the Capitol from the White House citing “progress” in his talks with Trump, but he had no deal in hand. Schumer of New York met privately with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Less than seven hours before federal funding runs out and a partial government shutdown was to begin, Trump tweeted that he and Schumer had an “excellent preliminary meeting.” While Schumer has been urging a funding extension of only a few days to continue negotiations, Trump said in the tweet that a “four week extension would be best!”

A White House official was more firm, saying a five-day extension was a non-starter. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

White House legislative liaison Marc Short put an optimistic spin on the situation.

“I feel like we’ll get it done,” he said as he headed into second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn’s office. “We have a few more hours. This is Congress, right?”

Any government shutdown might be a short one, depending on the negotiations over immigration, spending and other issues. GOP Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said lawmakers are close to resolving those matters as well as children’s health insurance, disaster funding and payments to shore up Obamacare.

“This is an unpleasant place to be, but maybe it will provoke enough willpower around here for people to act like grownups and sit down and work these things out,” Alexander said.

— Justin Sink, Sahil Kapur, Erik Wasson and Jennifer Epstein

No Deal Reached in Trump-Schumer Meeting (3:22 p.m.)

No deal was reached when President Donald Trump spent more than an hour meeting with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a White House official said.

The partisan deadlock over immigration dragged on and threatened to leave the government without funding after midnight on Friday.

“We discussed all of the major outstanding issues. We made some progress but we still have a good number of disagreements,” Schumer said after returning to the Capitol from the White House. “The discussions will continue.”

The meeting, initiated by Trump, was a one-on-one between the president and the Democratic leader, with staff for each also present, according to a person familiar with the matter. Republican congressional leaders weren’t included. The fact that it took place raised hopes among some lawmakers that it may lead to a breakthrough that would let the Senate act on a stalled stopgap funding measure.

“They clearly are major players and if they can come up with a compromise then it’s likely to help us end this unacceptable impasse,” said Republican Senator Susan Collins.

Collins said she supports an effort by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, to introduce compromise immigration legislation that gives protection for some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and also provide addition funding for border security.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a hardliner on immigration, said he hopes “the president will talk some sense into Senator Schumer and the Democrats” so they don’t shut down the government “for illegal immigrants.”