Trump Poised To Ring In Inauguration Anniversary With Government Shutdown

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu

This story was updated at 1:25 p.m. EST.

President Trump and congressional Republicans are poised to mark the one-year anniversary of the GOP seizing unified control of Washington by shutting down the government.

Funds for the federal government run out at midnight, and without a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations it appears that the GOP doesn’t have the votes to keep the lights on as dawn breaks on the first anniversary of Trump’s Jan. 20th inauguration.

Senate Democrats have dug in their heels in opposing the GOP’s plan for a bill to fund the government for one more month after Trump rejected a bipartisan deal to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he ended late last year.

With Republicans holding a narrow Senate majority – and a handful of GOP senators voicing opposition to the plan as well – it appears the party is far short of the 60 votes it needs to avoid a shutdown.

“There’s near zero chance of this thing passing,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) told TPM as he left for the night Thursday.

There’s no clear plan B, either. Some senators in both parties have suggested a bill to fund the government for a few days to leave room for more negotiations. But House members are already heading home — increasing the likelihood of at least a short-term shutdown.

Trump organized a last-minute meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Friday afternoon to try to avert a shutdown. But it’s unclear whether there has been any change in the leaders’ positions, or whether congressional Republicans will go along if they do strike a new deal.

Trump dodged any talk of a shutdown during a Rose Garden rally with anti-abortion leaders on Friday afternoon, though he highlighted his looming anniversary.

“Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since I took the oath of office, and I must say the country is doing really well,” he said.

While it remains unclear who will take the brunt of the blame for a shutdown, early polls indicate the public will place the blame mostly on Trump and Republicans. An ABC News poll released Friday found 48 percent of Americans would blame Trump and Republicans for a shutdown, and just 28 percent would blame Democrats. A Quinnipiac survey released Thursday found that 34 percent of Americans would blame Democrats for a shutdown, 32 would blame congressional Republicans and 21 percent would blame Trump.

Trump had planned to leave D.C. for his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida on Friday afternoon, and has a major campaign fundraiser scheduled for Saturday. The White House confirmed that he’d canceled his Friday departure ahead of the possible shutdown.

White House officials are bracing for a shutdown — while looking to lessen its impacts by keeping things like national parks and the post office open, a sign they’re wary of how the politics will play for the GOP.

“I’m handicapping [a shutdown] now at some place between 50 and 60 percent,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Friday morning at the White House.

“I think it’s ratcheted up. We were operating under a sort of 30 percent shutdown up until yesterday, I think it’s ratcheted up now,” he said a bit earlier. “We’re working to make sure there is no shutdown but if the Senate or the House can’t get together to finalize a deal we’ll be ready.”

The Senate returns at 11 a.m., with no clear path forward. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated he plans to hold a vote on the House-passed plan for a one-month extension of funding and a six-year extension of funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan at some point on Friday, but it’s not even clear if he has 50 votes for the plan, much less the 60 needed for passage.

One year ago Saturday, Trump declared a sea change in how government would work, promising an improvement for the people.

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” he said during his inaugural address.

But Democrats say his decision to scuttle a DACA deal has led to the current situation — and many congressional Republicans privately agree. The pending shutdown raises questions about what changes Trump has wrought.

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