by Susan Ferrechio · January 9, 2019
House Republicans say they expect most of their caucus members to vote against a series of Democratic bills aimed at reopening shuttered parts of the government and won’t buckle to Democratic pressure to abandon President Trump’s push for a border wall.
At least for now.
“I think our conference is united,” Republican Conference Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina told the Washington Examiner, adding that maybe a dozen or so Republicans could vote for the first of several bills that will come up Wednesday.
Democrats on Wednesday will call up the first of seven bills that would reopen portions of the government, but without adding any of the border wall funding that Trump wants. All told, the bills would fund nine agencies and departments that closed Dec. 22 at midnight and left 800,000 federal employees poised to miss paychecks beginning Friday.
House Republicans met privately in the Capitol Tuesday night with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the border wall and the shutdown strategy. Those who emerged from the discussion said they’ll stick together in voting against the Democratic bills.
“Those bills are going nowhere in the Senate,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday.
A top GOP vote counter, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the former chief deputy whip, said “not many” would vote with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. But pressure is mounting on Republicans to at least pass six spending bills that do not involve border security.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said he’s not supporting the legislation because the House is taking up a version of the spending measures negotiated in the Senate. He and other Republicans would rather work with versions of the bills that were negotiated jointly last year between the Senate and the House, which at that time was majority Republican.
If Pelosi brought up the conferenced bills, Simpson said, he would vote for them, because the legislation would include the House GOP’s spending priorities. Other Republicans would vote for those bills, too, he believes.
“It would make it really hard on us to vote against them,” Simpson said.
But Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., an appropriator, said there are no plans for the House to take up the Senate-negotiated versions and that Democrats hope the measures they pass this week and next week will pressure the GOP to relent.
“Anything can happen though,” Serrano said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he won’t take up any of the spending bills because Trump won’t sign them.
House and Senate leaders are slated for more negotiations at a White House meeting Wednesday, a day after Trump and Democrats held dueling prime time addresses about the border wall.
Trump wants up to $5.7 billion for the wall while Democrats want to block all wall funding and are refusing to negotiate until Trump first agrees to sign the bills to reopen the government.
Washington Examiner · by Susan Ferrechio · January 9, 2019