As the government shutdown stretches into a second day, both the House and Senate are preparing to reconvene.
Here’s where we are:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled the next vote for 1 a.m. Monday morning. It will be a cloture vote on the 3-week deal and needs 60 votes to pass. The 1 a.m. timing is due to Senate procedure, which makes that the first possible time for such a vote without agreement from Democrats. The Senate will reconvene today at 1 p.m.
After a rather dramatic and unusual debate over an anti-Schumer poster and the phrases “Schumer Shutdown” and “doggy doo,” the House recessed Saturday night and will reconvene at 2 p.m. today. They continue to wait for Senate action.
STATE OF PLAY
When they went home Saturday night, both the GOP and Democrats feel more confident and more comfortable with their positioning. They are both more certain they are in the right and that they are winning the political argument.
A series of meetings took place Saturday among bipartisan-leaning senators, trying to find a solution. They did not find one. As of Saturday evening, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders had not spoken to each other that day, nor had the House Majority and Minority Leaders.
On Saturday, Democrats emerged from a late afternoon meeting feeling more justified, given Trump’s repeated rejection of what they see as real attempts to move to the middle. They feel his shifting positions help their argument that the GOP does not want a deal. And Democrats believe that perception is breaking through with the public.
Republicans conversely believe Democrats painted themselves into a corner and are in a political bind, which the GOP does not plan on letting them out of easily.
Late Saturday, it felt like there was less pressure pushing groups toward a shutdown and less of a sense that a shutdown was good for either base. It was more that both sides believe they are in the right, especially when it comes to public perception, and it’s the other which faces political pressure to blink.
WHAT DO BOTH SIDES WANT?
The key elements have not changed since Friday.
Republicans are offering a 3-week spending deal with six years of CHIP funding. They were digging in on the president’s position that DACA will not be discussed, nor will discussion of DACA discussions, while the government is shut down.
Democrats are open to that time frame, though they still publicly are pushing for 3- to 5- days. A large issue remains that they want a guarantee that a DACA bill will be considered in the future.
Some Democrats are arguing that the party should consider other options — Alexander-Murray, disaster money, community health center funding — other issues also on their to-do list. But right now that feels like a minority position among Democrats.
The X-factor remains the president and whether he will change positions. That could help tremendously — or make things worse.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
One GOP senator’s take to NewsHour was that Democrats need an off-ramp and it’s not clear what that could be as long as Republicans, especially the White House, are digging in on immigration.
If there is not a deal by the end of Monday, we could be in for an extended shutdown. In that case, the State of the Union may be the best, next real deadline.