Senate Rejects CR, Government Shutdown Commences – UPDATE

Senate Rejects CR, Government Shutdown Commences – UPDATE

The Senate rejected the House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) Friday evening and government funding lapsed as midnight arrived.  Sixty votes were needed for passage.  The vote was 50-49.   Agencies funded through appropriations must proceed to shut down operations that are not essential or meet other requirements to continue.

According to the New York Times, 45 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted in favor of the CR, while 5 Republicans and 44 Democrats voted against.  Senator John McCain is not in Washington so did not vote.  The CR, which passed the House on Thursday, would have extended funding until February 16 and funded the Childhood Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, but done nothing to resolve the immigration status of  people who came to the United States as children without documentation.

How long the shutdown will last is anyone’s guess.

Senators could pass a different CR, extending funding for a few days while negotiations continue, for example.  It would have to pass the House, however, since it would be different from what the House approved on Thursday.

The House was scheduled to recess on Friday for a week, but Members were instructed to stay in town in case a vote was needed.

The situation is fluid.   Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE, January 20, 1:00 am ET.   The Senate is still in session.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a few minutes ago that he will introduce a new version of the CR shortening the deadline to February 8 instead of February 16, but there will be no vote tonight.

One objection to the House-passed bill is that it simply delays resolution of fundamental issues for another month “kicking the can down the road” with no real progress.  This is the fourth CR since FY2018 began on October 1, 2017.  Proponents of a shorter CR want to reach a final agreement on FY2018 funding instead of passing one CR after another.  McConnell appears to be responding to that point of view, though the Washington Post reports that Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the idea of a February 8 deadline already, arguing for only a 10-day instead of 3-week extension.

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