Shutdown looms larger in Senate after House vote
Posted January 18, 2018 12:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 18, 2018 8:52 p.m. EST
(CNN) — The Senate is bracing for a potential shutdown.
House Republicans passed the spending bill out of their chamber Thursday night, but the bill's future in the Senate is precarious with more than a dozen Democrats already having announced they'd vote against it Thursday.
Unlike in the House, where Republicans could pass the bill with GOP votes only, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs Democrats to pass the bill out of the Senate and CNN's whip count had 17 Democrats saying they'd vote "no" with more leaning that way.
"I'm very, very unlikely to support that," Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, said Thursday afternoon.
Many Democrats pinned their frustration with the House-passed CR on the fact that the bill did nothing to protect hundreds of thousands of recipients of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which expires on March 5.
".@realDonaldTrump created a crisis on #DACA and destroyed a bipartisan solution. #Dreamers belong here. I will vote NO on this spending bill because it does not put them on a pathway to citizenship," Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada tweeted Thursday night.
Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said on CNN Thursday morning that he was tired of continuing resolutions.
"We have to close this escape hatch and stop voting for CRs and tell leadership they have to make their deals and then we will get it done," King said. "I'd vote for one for a few days to do the paperwork, but to kick it down the road for another month, we're not going to know anything then that we don't know now."
But, Republicans had also included a six-year re-authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program in their short-term spending package, a maneuver they'd hoped would pressure Democrats to avert a government shutdown.
On Thursday, McConnell was drawing up contingency plans to keep the Senate in session through the weekend if Senate Democrats block a short-term spending bill before the Friday deadline expires, according to two GOP aides. Senate Republican leaders were working through scenarios that could force Democrats up for re-election in 2018 to take politically challenging votes for days after the missed deadline.
The plans serve in part as a threat to Democrats, who have grown increasingly willing to keep McConnell from the 60 votes he would need to pass a short-term funding bill and avoid a shutdown.
But, McConnell also has problems with his own members. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina threatened to vote against a short-term spending bill, as did Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The shutdown brinkmanship came after days of Democrats mostly keeping their votes to themselves.
Many Democrats have bemoaned the use of continuing resolutions, but kept their options open in part because it was unclear if Ryan and his lieutenants would even have the votes in their Republican conference to pass a short-term spending bill out of the House.
Still, some red-state Democrats were firm. They'd vote to keep the government open.
"I want to keep the government open. I'm just going to work and work and work to keep the government open," West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said.