The government is on the verge of shutting down, and Republicans don’t have enough votes in their own party to pass the spending bill needed to keep the government open after Friday night.
With just hours before funding runs out, Congress is growing increasingly fractured, and a shutdown is looking increasingly likely. The GOP needed nine Democrats to vote for the continuing resolution that would keep the government running (16 Democrats voted for a similar resolution when this came up in December). Clearing that hurdle got even more difficult Thursday, as three prominent Republicans have announced they will vote against their own parties proposal.
A number of Democrats have already announced they will vote no on the Republican plan. Thirty-two Democrats voted against the last resolution, but the caucus seems even more resistant this time around. A handful of Democratic senators have sworn not to vote in favor of any funding bill that doesn’t include protections for DACA recipients, and the senators from Virginia, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) announced Thursday morning that they, too, would vote against the package.
NEW: Virginia Dem Senators Kaine and Warner say they're a NO on short-term spending bill averting a govt shutdown that could come over from House today
Excerpt from statement: pic.twitter.com/msXFO8TKDJ
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) January 18, 2018
And on Thursday afternoon, Democrats announced that they had enough no votes to block the spending package as the number of Republicans deflecting began to climb.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) has called for a very short-term funding bill, just four or five days, in order to make a deal on defense spending, a DACA fix, disaster relief, and health care. But when Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) was asked about the idea, he told reporters, “No, we’re not going to do that.”
Additionally, it’s likely that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) will vote against the bill. A spokesperson for Lee told Politico Thursday, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future results but Sen. Lee has never voted for a CR [continuing resolution].”
The GOP appears to be cured by geography, as well, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not currently in Washington and unavailable to cast his vote, meaning Republicans need to find more than a dozen Democratic votes or it all shuts down.
And sailing doesn’t appear to be any smoother in the House, where the Freedom Caucus has revolted yet again.
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) January 18, 2018
What we just saw in the house floor was pretty amazing. GOP leadership — Ryan and McHenry — whipping for the government funding bill, as freedom caucus’ Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan whip against it. With both chambers and WH, still a intraparty brawl to keep government open.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 18, 2018
Here are the Republican senators who have officially announced they will vote against the CR. This list will be updated should additional members announce their decisions to vote against the bill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Graham was the first Republican senator to say he would vote against the resolution, telling reporters Wednesday, “I’m not going to vote for a CR. You’re destroying the military.”
Graham was also part of a group that crafted a bipartisan immigration deal, which included protections Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, which Trump rejected. When he announced his opposition, Graham said he believed that a DACA fix was vital to avoid a shutdown, as a number of Democrats have sworn to vote against any funding bill unless it includes protections for DACA recipients.
“To think you’re going to get a budget deal without dealing with DACA is pretty naive,” he said. “I think it’s always been naive.”
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Rounds announced Thursday that he would vote against the Republican proposal, telling CNN that he opposes short term deals that may leave federal agencies in limbo. Rounds joined Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who usually caucuses with Democrats, on CNN Thursday morning, where King announced his opposition to the resolution, saying he wouldn’t agree to any deal that will “kick it down the road for another month.”
Rounds agreed, saying, “I agree with Angus, and that’s the reason why I’m opposing the CR in its current form as well. And it’s not because immigration isn’t included. For me, it’s a matter of defense.”
Both senators said that they would vote for a shorter term resolution like Moran proposed, one that funded the government for about five days, if those five days were used simply to finalize the details of a longer term deal that had the necessary votes.
Rounds also addressed Trump’s own involvement in the shutdown chaos in the interview. Asked whether anyone knows what Trump wants in an immigration deal, Rounds said, “I think it depends on when you spoke to him and who was advising him last.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Paul told reporters Thursday that he’ll vote against the Republican’s proposal.
In an interview on Fox News not long after his announcement, Paul said he was a no vote because he was “not going to continue to put the country further into debt.”
“What I would propose is that we spent money at the same rate we spent it last year,” Paul said. “If you do that for 5 yrs you actually balance the budget in five years.”