Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an early supporter of the Defund Obamacare effort, is now calling for Congress to pass a very short-term continuing resolution to stop the current shutdown.
“I think what we could do, is we could pass a very short term — maybe not six weeks but, what, about one week — so we can negotiate over a week,” Paul said on CNN on Tuesday morning. “I think a continuing bill to keep the government open while we negotiate is a good idea. I do agree that negotiating with the government closed probably to them appears like strong-arm tactics. So if we keep the government open, but I think it needs to be short-term enough that we are having an active negotiation, that we don’t just say, oh, we’re going to fund it for three months or two months and come back. I think if we did it for a week or two, I think we could still continue to negotiate, have a conference committee and really I think the American people do want us to work this out.”
Republicans floated Paul’s idea on Monday but it never got anywhere.
Paul said that it’s his understanding that Senate Democrats are against the idea.
The U.S. government shutdown continues with no clear end in sight. House Republicans continued to demand that the nation’s new health-care law be delayed or repealed and Democrats — including President Obama — were refusing to give in. The shutdown has now sent some 710,000 to 770,000 employees home across the country, delayed the paychecks of another 1.3 million “essential” workers, and shuttered numerous government functions.
Check here for the latest updates on all the political jostling and practical impacts.
The Senate is poised to pass a short-term spending measure Friday and send it back to the House, with just four days to go before a threatened federal government shutdown.
The fate of the bill remained in limbo in the House as the Republican Party’s rebellious right wing is blocking a strategy by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for navigating a series of deadlines to keep the government funded and avoid the nation’s first default.
Senators are scheduled to act Friday by holding a series of votes shortly after midday to end formal debate on the spending bill. If the current plan holds, Senate Democrats will vote to amend the bill to restore funding for the new federal health-care law and send it back to the House.
Republicans there are vowing to reject the restoration of funding for the health-care law, commonly known as Obamacare, and may opt to send the bill back to the Senate again with more changes. But with the government shutdown hanging in the balance, House leaders had not yet signaled early Friday how they will proceed.
Capturing the sense of uncertainty gripping Capitol Hill, Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black called on lawmakers Friday during his opening prayer to “keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction,” adding later: “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) launched the Senate proceedings by making no formal statements, saying he would leave it to others to speak before the final votes.
As senators began voting on the motion to end debate on the spending bill, at least eight House Republicans showed up to watch in person.
The group included Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).
Amash and a few other House Republicans showed up in the Senate Chamber Tuesday evening to watch Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) conduct their 21-hour filibuster-like discourse – but this is a large turnout among House lawmakers for a Senate vote, by modern standards.
At least four Republican senators – Jerry Moran (Kan.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) – went over to the greet the group after they voted. Moran and Portman are chairman and vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“Are you here to intimidate me?” Moran asked Huelskamp as he greeted him.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) got 18 of his 45 Senate GOP colleagues to join him in voting against cloture, but his effort ultimately failed.
Here’s the breakdown, from Ed O’Keefe:
Senators voted 79 to 19 to end formal debate on the spending bill and proceed towards final passage.
23 Republicans voted with 54 Democrats to end debate.
19 Republicans voted no.
The ‘no’ votes are Sens. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), David Vitter (La.).
Federal agencies have begun telling their employees whether they would be furloughed or required to work during a potential government shutdown that would begin next week without a deal to continue federal spending.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) usually sits in a front corner of the Senate chamber and keeps to himself, or is seen conferring quietly with like-minded colleagues including Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
But during the first vote Friday to end formal debate, Cruz was seen near the front tables where GOP aides were keeping a running vote tally. He greeted several colleagues as they came in and was later seen laughing with Lee and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who joined with them and 16 other Republicans to vote against ending debate.