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    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition

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    The Last Outlaw
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm

    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition I6ke0

    From The Washington Post

    Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post wrote:
    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition BBRLNPd

    The House prepared to pass legislation Thursday that would reopen the federal government, but the partial shutdown is set to continue after President Trump vowed to veto the measure over its lack of funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Two Senate Republicans broke with Trump and party leaders Thursday, saying it was time to end the shutdown even if Democrats would not sign off on the more than $5 billion in border funding Trump is demanding.

    The comments from Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — the only two Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in 2020 in states Trump lost — pointed to cracks in the GOP strategy, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will only consider a plan that Trump supports.

    “I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” Gardner said, as the 116th Congress got under way with Democrats in control of the House.

    Even if the legislation doesn’t have the border money Trump wants, Gardner said, “We can pass legislation that has the appropriations number in it while we continue to get more but we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open and let Democrats explain why they no longer support border security.”

    Collins indicated support for an element of the Democrats’ approach, which is to advance a package of spending bills already approved in the Senate that would re-open the bulk of the government, while setting aside the fight over the wall in a separate piece of legislation.

    “I’m not saying their whole plan is a valid plan, but I see no reason why the bills that are ready to go and on which we’ve achieved an agreement should be held hostage to this debate over border security,” said Collins, who is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

    Trump has said he is opposed to both bills the House planned to pass later Thursday — one to reopen the bulk of government via a passage of six spending bills; and the other to extend Homeland Security Department funding at its current levels through Feb. 8, allowing lawmakers time to negotiate on border issues while the rest of the government is funded.

    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition BBRJ7n4

    A veto threat issued Thursday by the White House read: “The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to reopen lapsed agencies, but cannot accept legislation that provides unnecessary funding for wasteful programs while ignoring the Nation’s urgent border security needs.”

    Trump himself made an appearance in the White House briefing room, where, flanked by members of the union for border patrol agents, he said he has “never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance on border security ... and for, frankly, the wall, or the barrier.”

    “Without a wall you cannot have border security,” Trump continued. “It won’t work.”

    As the impasse dragged on, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said for the first time that the stalemate could continue for “months and months.”

    Top congressional leaders plan to meet with Trump at the White House Friday, in a repeat of a meeting they had on Wednesday. But so far there are no signs of a breakthrough or any movement. The shutdown has lasted 13 days without any signs of compromise or earnest negotiations, with Democrats largely unifying and a number of Republicans flummoxed over Trump’s strategy.

    The funding lapse has frozen the pay of 800,000 federal workers, many of which will miss their first paycheck beginning next week. Multiple national parks and museums have closed, and the impact is expected to become even more severe in the coming weeks.

    Complicating matters for the White House, McConnell himself from the discussions. He advanced a short-term funding bill through the Senate with unanimous support last month only to have Trump later threaten to block the measure if it passed the House. This enraged some Republicans who had voted for the measure, believing that they had Trump’s backing.

    Shelby’s comments reverberated throughout the country, as it marked the first time a top political figure estimated the shutdown could drag into the Spring.

    “Hearing this from the chairman of the Senate appropriations committee is, quite candidly, a punch in the jaw of federal employees,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 150,000 federal employees. “Their mental anguish and anxiety is bad enough. To hear this coming straight from congressional leaders does not instill a lot of hope.”

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to erect a wall along the Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it. He said terrorists, drugs, and criminals were coming to the United States through Mexico and needed to be stopped. This pledge proved very popular with many of his supporters.

    Since taking over in 2017, Trump has continued to assert that a wall is needed but he has backed away from insisting that Mexico pay for it. He has instead said the money should come from U.S. taxpayers, an idea that has divided Republicans. But many Republicans, some reluctantly, have agreed to follow his lead during the current shutdown.

    And though some Senate Republicans broke with Trump and leadership Thursday, others cautioned about what would happen if he caved on his signature promise.

    “If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) Wednesday during an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That’s probably the end of his presidency. Donald Trump has made a promise to the American people: He’s going to secure our border.”

    — Lisa Rein and Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.

    damian.paletta@washpost.com

    Well, well, well.  There are those in the GOP who want to reopen the government, but without support for a border wall.  This just got interesting.  And as for Sen. Lindsey Graham's quote that if he gives in, it could be the end of his presidency, I think that the end is near... one way or the other.

    Just saying.
    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition I6goy

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    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:49 pm

    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition I6ke0

    From The Hill

    Alexander Bolton of The Hill wrote:
    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition BBQaiT2

    Republican unity on the partial government shutdown is starting to crack in the face a tough election map in 2020 and no end in sight to the standoff that has hobbled key departments and agencies.

    At least three Senate Republicans on Thursday called on Congress to move on legislation to reopen federal agencies - or as many as possible - that have been shuttered since Dec. 22.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has declared any legislation passed by the House to fully reopen federal agencies will be a non-starter in the Senate but he may have trouble keeping all his troops in line.

    McConnell has tried to keep his conference out of the fray altogether by insisting any government funding deal depends on negotiations between President Trump and Democratic leaders.

    GOP lawmakers, feeling nervous about the prospect of a shutdown dragging on for weeks, are starting to weigh in.

    Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who in the last Congress served as a member of the GOP leadership, on Thursday said Congress should act to reopen government even without a deal on President Trump's demand to allocate $5.6 billion for a border wall.

    "I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today," Gardner said Thursday, referring to the stopgap spending measure the Senate passed before Christmas, which would have funded federal agencies through Feb. 8.

    Senate Republicans thought Trump would sign it into law but he surprised them at the last minute by announcing his opposition, triggering a partial government shutdown on Dec. 22.

    Gardner says Congress should give Trump $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion for border fencing - numbers already agreed to by Senate Democrats - and negotiate for more funding while government agencies are open.

    "We can pass legislation that has the appropriations number in it while we continue to get more but we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open and let Democrats explain why they no longer support border security," he said.

    Gardner is one of several Senate Republicans facing tough re-election battles in 2020 and his home state of Colorado has been hit hard by the shutdown.

    So far the state has lost nearly $24 million in revenue because of closed national parks and resulted in more than 7,000 Coloradans losing pay, at least temporarily, according to Colorado's other senator, Michael Bennet (D).

    Hillary Clinton won Colorado by five points in 2016.

    Senate Republicans have to defend 22 seats in this election cycle while Democrats must protect 12. GOP incumbents will likely face tough races in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina.

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Dec. 27 showed that only 25 percent of Americans nationwide support Trump shutting down the government to get leverage for the border wall.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who also faces a potentially tough race in 2020, says Congress should pass the six spending bills not related to homeland security so other federal agencies not touched by the border controversy can resume work as soon as possible.

    "It would be great to have them signed into the law because there is not great controversy over them. And at least we'd be getting those workers back to work," Collins said Thursday.

    Clinton also carried her state in 2016.

    The shutdown has affected operations at the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation and Treasury in addition to Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the border.

    Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Thursday said she wants the government shutdown to end as soon as possible.

    "I'd like to see it stop," she said, indicating that she might back moving the six non-controversial funding bills separately "if that's what it takes" to minimize the impact of the standoff.

    Capito, however, would prefer moving all seven stalled funding bills together, including the one she crafted as chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

    She has argued for moving that bill, which includes $1.6 billion for border fencing and which most Democrats on the Appropriations Committee voted for in June, along with the others.

    "That's the strategy I've been advocating. Let the bill that passed the Senate [Appropriations Committee] be the default bill on the Senate floor and we may end up there," she said.

    Capito said the Senate may end up taking up legislation the House is expected to pass late Thursday that would include six of the stalled appropriations bills and a short-term measure funding the Homeland Security.

    "I think what will happen is the House bill will come over here and we amend with the Senate bill in. That's the strategy that's being talked about. I just think it's still so up in the air," she said.

    Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said "nobody likes CRs," referring to continuing resolutions to temporarily fund the government, "but shutting down the government is a bigger mistake than a CR."

    Rounds said he would support a stopgap measure that includes "some kind of an agreement that there's some funding" that Trump could claim as a partial victory on border security.

    "I just think not having the government open is the wrong message to send to the people of this country. It says we can't do our jobs. It says we're not working with people that may have a differing point of view," he said.

    "If the president can agree to something that says I will reopen government because I think I've made some progress here - to give us another 20 days or 30 days or whatever - I don't think there would be anyone who would disagree with that," he added.

    Trump has invited congressional leaders back to the White House at 11:30 am Friday for another round of talks but both sides appear dug in, with the president insisting on $5.7 billion for border fencing and Democrats insisting they won't go above $1.3 billion.

    Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Thursday raised the prospect that the standoff over the border wall could drag on for months.

    "I'm thinking we might be in for a long haul here. ... A long haul, in other words, I don't see any quick resolution to this," Shelby told reporters.

    Shelby said he would like to pass six or all seven of the remaining funding bills but acknowledged the decision is McConnell's.

    "I would like to move six or seven but that's beyond me," he said.

    A newly retired House Republican lawmaker told The Hill Thursday that GOP moderates will be under intense pressure to pass a short-term funding measure even if it doesn't give Trump nearly as much money as he wants for the wall.

    "I think they will be under tremendous pressure to take the deal. I think it's a good deal," he added, noting that six of the spending bills are "Republican-negotiated bills" and have nothing to do with the border.

    Jordain Carney contributed.

    You can't just see the cracks forming, you can hear the cracks cracking.  Trump's got a problem and a wall can't solve it!  If the Senate and House agree, Trump has more issues than a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal.

    Just saying.
    House Democrats Prepare Vote To Reopen Government, As Cracks Appear In GOP Opposition I6goy

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