Shutdown watch: Are there enough House Republicans to keep the government open?

Republican leaders are full speed ahead on a short-term funding bill -- now they just need the votes for it.Ho...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 3:52 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 3:52 PM

Republican leaders are full speed ahead on a short-term funding bill -- now they just need the votes for it.

House GOP leaders are cautiously optimistic they can muster the votes for their short-term funding bill released Tuesday night.

House Republicans are whipping votes Wednesday on a plan to fund the government

Senate Democrats are not publicly weighing in and are watching House negotiations

Senate Republicans leaders have convinced themselves Democrats will have to peel off to support the spending package the House would send over. Senate Democrats, for their part, are still keeping their cards close to their chest.

Bottom line: Wednesday could bring a lot of clarity to whether things are about to shift to a glide path -- top GOP aides think they're edging close to that point -- or it could become clear everything is officially falling apart. All eyes are on House Republicans.

What's happening with DACA talks?

Nothing productive, according to aides in both parties from both chambers.

How does a deal to address the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program get done, asks one senior Republican aide.

"No idea. Ask the President. Until he decides what he really wants, nothing moves."

Sometime Wednesday, the "Gang of Six" will release the full details of their proposal. Republican leaders remain dead set against it, but look out for added co-sponsors as the try and reacquire some kind -- any kind -- of momentum.

President Donald Trump will also be on Capitol Hill for a ceremony later in the day. Nothing is on the schedule yet for other meetings, but aides say it's possible he stops into a leadership office or two.

What matters Wednesday: House Republicans

Tuesday night was a bit of a roller coaster for House GOP leaders. A closed-door conference meeting where they presented their short-term funding bill -- funds the government until February 16, delays three unpopular taxes from the Affordable Care Act, extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years -- to plenty of grumbles, but mostly acceptance that it was the only path forward.

In fact, one senior GOP aide told me after the meeting: "Huh. That went ... really well?" (Yes, positive meetings can be a surprise to even the most seasoned aides when it comes to government spending bills.)

But then 90 minutes later, the House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows emerged from their own closed door meeting to announce the votes weren't there for the leadership's proposal -- and the conservative caucus had demands, throwing the entire Republican strategy -- House, Senate and White House -- into question.

How to read this: Leadership aides were telling allies Tuesday night they thought they could still get the votes for their proposal, despite the resistance from House Freedom Caucus members. They will whip the vote -- hard -- Wednesday, to try and set up a Thursday vote to pass the proposal.

Here's the reality: If you don't give House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, this short-term spending bill, he's going to have to negotiate with Democrats (or the Senate has to go first on this, which creates a whole new set of messes). Republicans don't want to deal with Democrats on this. So, getting their votes on their own, however much they hate continuing resolutions, is the logical path forward.

A second reality: The delay of the three Obamacare taxes is something the entire GOP conference not only supports, but strongly advocates. It's important to multiple constituencies, not the least of which, are some donors rather flush with cash. It's a carrot that's very real and tough to vote against.

And along those lines: The Freedom Caucus is precisely why Senate Democrats were mostly keeping their powder dry on Tuesday regarding a possible shutdown. No sense in taking a hard position when, as one aide put it, "House Republicans have a history of stepping on their own rakes."

And when one senior aide was informed of Meadows' comments Tuesday night potentially rejecting the House GOP plan, he texted simply: "Game on."

So where are Democrats?

Waiting. A lot hinges on what happens in the House. If House Republicans can't get their own spending bill across the finish line, a whole new world of negotiating possibilities could open up. Until then, it has been communicated, sources tell CNN, that weighing in with a definitive yes-or-no answer on how they'd vote on a government funding bill isn't helpful or productive.

Keep in mind on this: Should House Republicans pass their short-term spending bill, it's a very, very tough vote for Senate Democrats. Not only does it include funding the government, it also extends CHIP for six years with no pay-fors Democrats hate. And those Obamacare tax delays? Yes, many Democrats are very supportive of those as well.

McConnell: Lawmakers shouldn't push for DACA deal this week

In other words: "It's a nasty 'no' vote for them," one GOP aide said last night. "Just nasty."

That said, don't underestimate the base pressure, don't underestimate the pressure inside the Democratic caucus, to have this fight and have it now. It's just not clear if that will be enough to tip the scales given the political ramifications of voting against the spending bill.

West Lafayette
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 63°
Kokomo
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Rensselaer
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Williamsport
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Crawfordsville
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Frankfort
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 63°
Delphi
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 60°
Monticello
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 60°
Logansport
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 54°
Hazy Skies Return
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111505

Reported Deaths: 3506
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20699758
Lake10217318
Elkhart6368109
St. Joseph604597
Allen5965200
Hamilton4676109
Vanderburgh334129
Hendricks2650122
Monroe240836
Johnson2257122
Tippecanoe221013
Clark211756
Porter205244
Cass19319
Delaware187061
Vigo176622
Madison157775
LaPorte136737
Floyd130361
Howard127563
Kosciusko119017
Bartholomew114957
Warrick114135
Marshall98524
Dubois94918
Boone94446
Hancock90542
Grant88233
Noble88132
Henry76324
Wayne73914
Jackson7349
Morgan69638
Shelby66529
Daviess64127
LaGrange63011
Dearborn62628
Clinton59112
Harrison56024
Putnam5329
Montgomery50521
Lawrence50328
Knox4869
White47914
Gibson4744
Decatur45339
DeKalb45011
Miami4243
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3822
Steuben3677
Scott35310
Sullivan32912
Jennings30912
Posey3020
Franklin29725
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll27013
Wabash2638
Washington2581
Whitley2526
Starke2517
Wells2472
Adams2443
Jefferson2433
Fulton2352
Huntington2213
Spencer2194
Tipton21722
Perry20913
Randolph2067
Jay1700
Newton17011
Owen1641
Martin1620
Rush1514
Pike1411
Vermillion1260
Fountain1152
Pulaski1141
Blackford1132
Crawford1030
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events