WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Senate Set To Vote On Government Funding Bill Before Midnight

Jan 19, 2018
Originally published on January 24, 2018 11:33 am

The Senate is set to hold a vote before midnight on Friday on the bill the House passed last night to avert a government shutdown. If it passes, the government will remain funded for the next four weeks.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

In just 30 minutes, the Senate will vote on a bill that could avert a government shutdown. It is a four-week extension of government funding. The House passed the bill last night. If it does not pass the Senate, we are looking at a partial shutdown of the federal government in about two and a half hours. That's midnight Eastern Time. So let's go to the Capitol where NPR's Scott Detrow is watching for the latest. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: How's it looking? Does it look like they are likely to pass this bill, prevent a shutdown?

DETROW: Well I'd say since we last spoke about an hour ago, almost all of the developments have been incredibly speculative. So working with that...

KELLY: So speculate for me a bit (laughter).

DETROW: I'm on it.

KELLY: What are we thinking?

DETROW: Democrats are meeting right now. The vote is scheduled, like you said, for about a half hour from now. There seems like there's three likely outcomes. First, there's a vote, and Democrats block it. That leads to a shutdown. Second, leaders agree on a very short-term funding bill - just a matter of days to keep the talks going.

KELLY: Right.

DETROW: And third, a deal is struck where the White House makes a promise to the Democrats on DACA. They approve the four-week bill. But I have to say, it's hard to see that last one working given how many times President Trump has changed his mind on DACA.

KELLY: Before I press you on President Trump, I want to ask about the Democrats, who are the key here. Republicans do not have enough votes to do this on their own. Democrats have been huddling in that last hour since you and I last spoke. Do we know what they're thinking, what their game plan is?

DETROW: So over the last few hours, four Democrats have said they'll vote for the bill. Three of those Democrats are up for re-election this year in red states. The fourth is Doug Jones, who was just sworn in as an Alabama senator. That's still not enough votes to pass the bill with the needed 60. And most Democrats are saying they've just had enough, and they aren't voting yes on a funding bill until there's a solution for DACA.

KELLY: Now, what about Republicans and their leader, President Trump? He has been active on Twitter in just these last few minutes. What's he saying?

DETROW: Well, publicly the White House has been very resistant to the idea of a stopgap bill, just a few days of funding to keep talks going. That might be the best option for them at this point. But Trump seemed very pessimistic suddenly. Just a few moments ago, he tweeted, things are not looking good. That's a contrast to earlier today when he said talks were making progress.

KELLY: Do we know what - I mean, what he's referring to there?

DETROW: Unclear - it was more of a framing tweet. He was blaming Democrats, saying they want to have a shutdown to cover up, he said, the good news of the economy. But Democrats are saying this is about DACA; this is about being promised that there will be a solution for the 700,000 or so people in this program that President Trump has publicly said - he wants a fix for them, too.

KELLY: And any more wooing going on across the aisle from Republicans in Congress?

DETROW: Well, it's - Lindsey Graham just went into a meeting in Mitch McConnell's office. That seems to be the only progress we've seen on the Republican side. Marc Short, President Trump's legislative director, has been on the Hill today, too, talking. And of course I'm sure a lot of phone calls are going on right now.

KELLY: I'm sure there are. All right, Scott Detrow, NPR congressional correspondent, thanks very much.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.