HSEC

Bipartisan Group of Senators Hoping for Breakthrough on Shutdown
Group of 20 presenting options to break stalemate to leaders

From left, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., leave a meeting in Sen. Susan Collins’s office with other Senate moderates as they try to find a way to end the government shutdown on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There is growing optimism that the Senate will be able to muster the votes necessary to advance a three-week funding measure to reopen the federal government, Republican and Democratic aides and lawmakers say.

The deal is a central discussion of a coalition of roughly 20 bipartisan members that have been meeting Saturday and Sunday. The group is discussing the offer with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. 

Trump Wants to Go ‘Nuclear’ — On Senate Votes
McConnell has opposed rule change

President Donald Trump wants Senate legislation to pass with fewer votes. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If shutdown stalemate continues, Senate Republicans should nix the 60-vote rule to allow legislation to pass with 51 votes, President Trump tweeted Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has long firmly opposed the rule change.

With No Deal, Senate Heads Toward Votes at 1 a.m. Monday
McConnell says Democratic delay tactics ‘won’t work forever’

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth criticized President Donald Trump’s comments about the government shutdown, calling him a “five-deferment draft dodger.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators were shuttling in and out of offices Saturday, but there were no breakthroughs in the effort to reopen the federal government.

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came to the floor late Saturday to announce plans to have the chamber back in session starting Sunday afternoon, he made clear that, at his first opportunity, he would try to hold a vote to break a filibuster of a proposal to fund the government through Feb. 8.

Republicans’ Schumer Poster Rankles Dems, Prompts Decorum Vote
GOP lawmakers used it as a prop to blame minority leader for shutdown

This poster depicting Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer contributed to partisan tensions  Saturday — and a vote on whether it violated House decorum rules.

Partisan tensions were so high on the first day of the government shutdown that a House Democrat forced the chamber to vote on the question of whether a GOP poster depicting Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer violated House decorum rules.

The poster pictured Schumer with a comment he made in 2013 saying that a government shutdown “is the politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.” Republicans were using it as a prop as they gave floor speeches seeking to cast blame on Senate Democrats for the “Schumer shutdown.”

House GOP Has Message for Senate on Shutdown: Nuke the Filibuster
McCarthy, other lawmakers joins Trump in reiterating call for changes

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy renewed his call for the Senate to change its rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Sunday, 1:18 p.m. | House Republicans say Senate Democrats are holding government funding “hostage” to their demands on immigration. And they’ve got an idea for ending the crisis: Throw away the filibuster.

The legislative tool of the minority is one of the few remaining things that distinguish the Senate from the House. The Senate GOP is coming under pressure from House Republicans and President Donald Trump to pursue the so-called nuclear option — change chamber rules and end the legislative filibuster, at least on spending bills.

Hoyer Introduces Four-Day CR to Fund Government
Minority whip claims stopgap measure would end the ‘Trump shutdown’

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plans to introduce a four-day continuing resolution (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer introduced and tried to request a vote on a four-day continuing resolution to end the government shutdown while putting pressure on Republicans to expeditiously reach an agreement with Democrats on a broader spending package.

Hoyer’s unanimous consent request to bring up the four-day CR was not entertained because the House was currently debating a rule to provide authority to bring a bill to the floor the same day it is reported out of the Rules Committee without the need for a two-thirds vote.

Ryan Removes Meehan From Ethics Committee
Pennsylvania Republican is facing sexual misconduct allegations

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan has removed Rep. Patrick Meehan from the Ethics Committee after allegations of sexual misconduct against the Pennsylvania Republican emerged. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has removed Rep. Patrick Meehan from the Ethics Committee as the panel will now open an investigation looking into sexual misconduct allegations raised against him.

“Speaker Ryan takes the allegations against Mr. Meehan very seriously,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said. “Though Mr. Meehan has denied the allegations, they must be fully and immediately investigated by the House Ethics Committee.”

Amid Shutdown, White House Says Senate Democrats ‘Out of Control’
Administration officials, lawmakers signal quick resolution is unlikely

The previous government shutdown took place in October 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House officials on Saturday described Senate Democrats as “out of control” with their demands to end a government shutdown and signaled negotiations have stalled, raising questions whether the federal apparatus will be open when the workweek begins.

President Donald Trump is spending the anniversary of his swearing-in calling congressional GOP leaders and other lawmakers in pursuit of an agreement to reopen the government, aides say. But with both sides trading barbs and insults, a resolution on the shutdown’s first day appears unlikely.

Meehan Denies Wrongdoing Following Report of Harassment Settlement
Pennsylvania Republican is a Democratic target this year

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan reportedly settled a harassment case using taxpayer funds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:18 p.m. | Rep. Patrick Meehan denied allegations of misconduct Saturday, following a New York Times story that the Pennsylvania Republican used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case. The newspaper reported that the four-term lawmaker made unwanted romantic advances toward a female staffer in 2016.  

“Congressman Meehan denies the allegations,” his spokesman John Elizandro said in an email. “Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

House Democrats Maintain Hard Line on Shutdown Demands
Pelosi: “There’s no point having the CR unless we have the terms of engagement”

From left, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., are casting doubt they would support a possible GOP Senate-hatched deal to end the shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Republican leaders want to advance a three-week continuing resolution as a way out of the government shutdown, they will likely need to round up the votes among themselves. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday rejected a fall-back plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a continuing resolution lasting until Feb. 8 and hold an open floor debate on an immigration bill.