Senate Democrats say they can block spending bill


We're just one day away from a government shutdown as Republicans desperately work to find the votes for a stop-gap spending measure on Capitol Hill.

Trump complicated the talks by saying a six-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a Democratic priority, should not be included. Democrats are vowing to support the measure only if it includes protections for immigrants covered under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

However, a mix of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who oppose the House bill for varying reasons left the legislation on the verge of defeat.

President Trump injected fresh confusion into tense negotiations to avert an impending government shutdown with a morning tweet that indicated he opposed the House stopgap funding bill.

Many Democrats have kept their options open in part because it was unclear if House Speaker Paul Ryan and his lieutenants would even have the votes in their Republican conference to pass a short-term spending bill out of the House as they did Thursday. Unlike in the House, where Republicans could pass the bill with GOP votes alone, McConnell needs Democrats to pass the bill out of the Senate - as many as more than a dozen depending on GOP no votes or absences. The last time the government shutdown was 2013, and it lasted 16 days.

"The right thing for the Senate to do would be to vote yes, and continue to negotiate", said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).

Early on Thursday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the House bill to fund the government was "very likely to be unacceptable to the Senate".

GOP leaders also agreed to try to build support for a conservative immigration bill written by four House Republicans but didn't commit to a floor vote, another House GOP aide said.

Before the Congressional Budget Office declared CHIP's renewal a cost-saver, the House to reauthorize the program over the objections of Democrats who didn't approve of its corresponding cuts to coverage.

The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted January 10-15 among 1,503 adults, finds that 61% of the public thinks this year will be better than last year; a year ago, 49% said 2017 would be better than 2016.

House Republicans are expected to vote on the short-term deal Thursday night.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger offered her version of Democrats' argument Thursday: "If this is so important to you Republicans, why didn't you take it up earlier this year when you could have, when the Democrats wanted to deal with it?"

'I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign, ' McConnell told reporters.

Yet others from states President Donald Trump carried in the 2016 election may be feeling some heat. He said he would support a continuing resolution to keep the government funded for a few days, but that a longer term one - like the one in the House-passed proposal - he would have a hard time supporting. Roughly half (46%) point to Trump or his policies as why they think this year will be worse than last year; no other response comes close (11% cite Republican policies). Congress' inability to agree on overall funding levels has meant that the government has been operating on a series of temporary measures that mainly kept spending at the previous year's levels. "I don't think they'd want to shut down".

But Jones refused to say he would vote against the spending bill, telling reporters he hadn't made a decision yet.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is starting over.

Durbin said the negotiators "finally started talking about real issues, Dream Act citizenship and border security in more specific terms". Democrats were insisting on equally large increases for domestic programs for opioid treatment and veterans - efforts that many in the GOP also back. Food inspectors for the Agriculture Department would keep working, as would Transportation Safety Administration officials and those government employees who process Social Security checks and payments for Medicaid and Medicare.