By Matthew Boyle
Washington, D.C., is on edge this Friday as Senate Democrats barrel the United States of America toward a government shutdown at midnight.
The House of Representatives, on a bipartisan basis, passed a bill that keeps the government open with 230 votes–and now its fate rests in the hands of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Senate Democratic conference, who would be solely responsible for a government shutdown if it happens. The Senate overwhelmingly on Thursday evening voted for a motion to proceed onto the bill, but now the funding measure needs 60 Senators to vote for it to eventually pass. Since only 47 Republicans are definitely yea votes, that means Republicans need at least 13 Senate Democrats to vote to fund the government.
The Democrats are pushing for this shutdown because they are hellbent on getting amnesty for a significant population of illegal aliens who were recipients of the unlawful Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive amnesty program. The White House and congressional Republicans have been more than willing to offer a deal and proposal to handle this problem, but the Democrats have been unwilling to give up chain migration, the visa lottery, and funding for President Trump’s planned border wall.
Breitbart News will bring live updates here as the country barrels over the shutdown cliff.
UPDATE 4:32 P.M.
CNN’s polling data, as noted by Jake Tapper live on air just now, finds that 56 percent of Americans think stopping a government shutdown is more important than fixing DACA. Only 34 percent think a DACA fix is more important. That puts the Democrats in an awful position, and it is why Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) have abandoned Schumer’s position on this matter–and it’s why many of the other Democrats conference-wide in the Senate like Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) continue to refuse to say where they stand on this matter.
Tapper is currently ripping Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)–a member of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty plotters–apart live on CNN trying to get him to answer for Schumer’s actions. Bennet is struggling, as Schumer runs out of messengers to send out on TV–all while Durbin, Schumer’s number two, said everything rides on what Schumer does next.
UPDATE 4:23 P.M.
The Democrat dam is beginning to burst open. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is already widely viewed as a “yea” vote on the House-passed funding bill, and now Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)–another red state Democrat up for re-election in 2018–has announced he will vote for the bill. Schumer is in trouble as he aims to hold his conference together.
UPDATE 4:13 P.M.
The Democrats will not be able to hide much longer. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, per Fox News’ Chad Pergram, has announced that the Senate will hold its cloture vote on the bipartisan House-passed Continuing Resolution to keep the government open.
If Senate Democrats do not vote for this legislation–it needs 60 votes to pass–then they alone will be responsible for the government shutdown, imperiling their midterm election chances.
UPDATE 4:07 P.M.
A new CNN poll finds that a plurality of Americans would blame Democrats if the government shuts down–a total of 31 percent. Only 21 percent would blame President Trump, and only 26 percent would blame congressional Republicans. Another 10 percent would blame all three groups. This polling data is not good for Democrats, especially as Schumer is getting blamed for this even by Durbin as per CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett.
On television, CNN’s Jake Tapper compared these numbers back to previous polling data from shutdowns during the Barack Obama and Bill Clinton administrations–and found that Republicans are in much better shape than years past.
As the debate rages even more, the situation is likely to get worse for Democrats as they alone have the power to keep the government open–no matter how much they complain about Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and White House. Per current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to pass the government funding bill. That means Democrats have the power to stop a shutdown if they wanted to.
UPDATE 4:03 P.M.
Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin attempted to sneak out of Chuck Schumer’s office after their powwow, but CNN of all networks cornered them–and in a conversation with a CNN reporter, Durbin put everything on Schumer’s shoulders.
Again, if the government shuts down, now even top Democrats like the Senate Minority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) are admitting that it will be Schumer’s and the Democrats’ responsibility.
UPDATE 3:34 P.M.
The Democrats are clearly not taking this seriously, as Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) is roaming around Capitol Hill with a camera taking photos–rather than trying to keep the government open.
Again, not to belabor the point, but the electoral calamity that exists on the road ahead for Democrats if they vote against keeping the government open–and for a shutdown–when the Senate takes up the House-passed government funding bill cannot be understated. Photos like this of Democrats horsing around rather than trying to govern will likely not come in handy for Democrats in tough races in the midterm elections.
UPDATE 3:29 P.M.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt sent a message to agency employees informing them that the agency, even in the event of a shutdown, will operate as per usual for at least a week.
“As many of you are aware, annual funding for the government expires at midnight,” Pruitt wrote to EPA employees in a message obtained by Breitbart News. “At this time EPA has sufficient resources to remain open for a limited amount of time in the event of a government shutdown. All EPA employees should follow their normal work schedule for the week of January 22, 2018. Should the shutdown occur and remain in place through January 26, 2018, we will provide further updates on the agency’s operating status. In addition, all travel needs to be approved by the Administrator’s Office. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the EPA and the American people.”
UPDATE 3:25 P.M.
As their party’s future in the midterm elections hinges on what they do next, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin rushed into Schumer’s office after Schumer’s White House meeting with Trump–in order to get a readout of what happened and figure out what to do next.
Democrats are really up a creek here–they voted against children’s health insurance (the CHIP program) in the House en masse on Thursday evening and would get all the blame for a government shutdown if a dozen plus Senate Democrats don’t vote for the bipartisan House-passed bill. A lot rides on what happens next, and all the pressure is on them–not the Republicans, who did their job.
UPDATE 3:18 P.M.
Some of Washington’s favorite haunts, like Capitol Hill bar Capitol Lounge, are having fun preparing for a potential government shutdown:
UPDATE 3:15 P.M.
More from inside Schumer’s meeting with Trump, per Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)–the Senate Majority Whip–who spoke with White House chief of staff John Kelly afterwards. Kelly was inside the meeting with Trump and Schumer.
In other words, Schumer will not get bailed out by Trump. He can have his members walk his party off the plank by voting against the House-passed Continuing Resolution, imperiling Democrats’ midterm election chances by making them vote for a government shutdown, or Schumer can step up and provide the votes to keep the government open.
UPDATE 3:12 P.M.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), the new radical leftist Democrat senator from Alabama who was elected amid a firestorm of allegations that sank his conservative Republican opponent, is noncommittal on the House-passed spending bill. But he is not opposed to voting for the bill in the end–as voting against it would undermine his chances at re-election in 2020.
UPDATE 3:10 P.M.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) shoots down Lindsey Graham once again, as the radical open borders senator from South Carolina keeps attempting to empower the Democrats while undercutting President Trump in these negotiations.
As Chuck Schumer continues to jeopardize his party’s midterm election chances by steering the government towards a shutdown, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is out with new videos ripping apart Democratic congressional candidates across the country. Here is one such video:
Along with the release of these NRCC videos, NRCC communications director Matt Gorman released this statement: “The unconscionable vote these House Democrats took last night will be a major campaign issue in 2018. To Pelosi and Washington Democrats: fund the government. Fund CHIP. Do it now.”
The ads, per the NRCC, target vulnerable Democrats in 10 different districts:
(AZ-01) Tom O’Halleran(CA-07) Ami Bera(CA-36) Raul Ruiz(IA-02) Dave Loebsack(MA-09) Bill Keating(MI-05) Dan Kildee(MN-08) Rick Nolan(NY-18) Sean Patrick Maloney
(PA-17) Matt Cartwright
(CA-52) Scott Peters
UPDATE 3:01 P.M.
There still appears to be no deal.
Trump’s move of bringing Schumer himself to the White House makes it very clear here that the Democrats in the Senate–at Schumer’s behest–are solely responsible for the shutdown if one happens. If a shutdown happens, every Democrat who votes against cloture for the government funding bill passed by the House will own what happens next, throwing the Democratic Party into further chaos walking into the all-important midterm elections. In other words, Trump schooled Schumer at the White House and boxed in the Democratic leader.
UPDATE 2:58 P.M.
Per this video from Capitol Hill reporters, Schumer is refusing to answer questions about his continued refusal to keep the government open–making matters even worse for Democratic senators facing tough re-election battles in 2018:
It’s worth noting Schumer almost never refuses to take questions. He is known for lunging at opportunities to talk with the media.
UPDATE 2:55 P.M.
Schumer ducked out of the White House dodging reporters into a black SUV, a bad sign for the Democrats as they face a tough vote on whether they will shut the government down or not.
Shutdown fever is gripping the White House as well: