Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress stepped up their efforts to pass a temporary extension in funding government operations and avert a shutdown, scheduling a vote on the measure for later Thursday. For months, the Republican-controlled Congress has been struggling to fund the government, which is now operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1.
Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and most legislation, including spending bills or an immigration deal, will require 60 votes to pass. A vote on the bill is expected to come after 2:30 p.m. EST. House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would take up the short-term funding measure as soon as the House approves it.
NBC News reports:
With just two days left before the last short-term spending bill lapses, problems continue in the Senate. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was rebuked by the president for his compromise immigration plan, announced that he would not support another stop-gap spending measure. Congress has already passed three short-term extensions since the beginning of the fiscal year in October.
“There’s four of ’em,” Graham told reporters. “Eventually you got to say no. I don’t want to shut the government down, but you know, it’s killing the military and it’s the worst way in the world to run the military and the government in general and we just got to let folks in this body know that enough is enough.” With Graham against the measure and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., absent for cancer treatment, Senate Republicans need the support of 11 Democrats to pass the measure.
Ohio GOP Rep. Warren Davidson, a member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters he’s undecided on how he’ll vote. But he blasted Democrats for their position, saying, “they’re picking 800,000 people who brought them here illegally versus our troops and that is very frustrating so we have wanted to have this money to our troops since October 1, meanwhile our troops aren’t getting this money.”
GOP leaders have consistently argued House Democrats would be responsible for a shutdown if the measure fails on the House floor, and Meadows conceded that it would be easier to blame Democrats for a shutdown if the House clears the bill but it fails in the Senate (Democrats are quick to point out that Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the Executive Branch).