McConnell Pushes Back Funding Vote But No Deal With Dems Announced Yet

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks from the chamber to his office during a long series of votes at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As the government shutdown approached the end of its second day, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that a vote on a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 will take place at noon ET Monday — as opposed to 1 a.m., as originally scheduled. There is no guarantee that the legislation will earn the 60 votes it will need to overcome a filibuster, however.

In a floor speech announcing the schedule change, McConnell laid out an offer promising that the Senate consider an immigration bill if there is not a larger immigration deal between the Senate, the House and the White House by Feb. 8, assuming that there is not another government shutdown then. He also offered to vote on a spending bill on those terms at 10 p.m. ET Sunday night.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R-NY) objected to moving up the vote to Sunday evening, and gave no indication that Democrats would support the funding bill on the terms that McConnell laid out.

“I am happy to continue my discussion with the majority leader about reopening the government. We’ve had several conversations. Talks will continue, but we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable for both sides,” Schumer said.

McConnell then proposed the Monday noon ET vote, to which Schumer did not object.

It’s not clear if Democrats will come around to voting for the funding bill by noon Monday. They have sought a path forward for legislation that would continue the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that would guarantee it would be brought up in the House, as well as the Senate. The program protects young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. It was rescinded by President Trump in September, and he instructed Congress to deal with it legislatively.

Democrats have also said they’d like a deal that would address ongoing debates about military spending numbers, disaster relief and health care programs.

McConnell said negotiations on all those issues would start back up once the government was reopened.

“The shutdown should stop today. And we’ll soon have a vote that will allow us to do exactly that. So let’s step back from the brink,” McConnell said.

The government’s funding lapsed midnight Saturday morning, with most Democrats and a few Republicans filibustering a spending bill.

One of those Republicans, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) signaled Sunday that he’d support the spending bill on Monday now that McConnell had promised to bring up an immigration bill by February absent a larger immigration deal. (McConnell had previously promised Flake an immigration vote in January for his support for last year’s GOP tax bill.)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also voted to filibuster Friday’s spending bill, told reporters Sunday afternoon he was leaning towards supporting the three-week spending bill that will be voted on Monday.

 

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