Today on the Hill: Shutdown Odds Raise After House Approves Trump’s Wall Funding

December 21, 2018

House GOP lawmakers rejected Senate-passed legislation that would have provided a “clean” extension of government funding for seven weeks, opting instead to pass a stopgap bill that would provide $5.7 billion for President Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall and $8 billion for emergency disaster aid. President Trump told GOP leadership he would veto the Senate-passed bill over the lack of border wall funding while also warning Senators that the shutdown will last for “a very long time” if funding isn’t included. The President is expected to meet with Senate Republicans this morning to discuss the latest state of play with respect to the funding bill.

Because the House-passed bill includes the border wall and disaster aid funding provisions, the Senate will have to vote on the bill again in order to send it to President Trump’s desk. However, the bill needs 60 votes to avoid a filibuster — something Democrats will likely do in order to block the bill. President Trump has urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to use the so-called “nuclear option” that would change the Senate’s rules to make it possible to agree to the latest House-passed spending bill with a simple majority threshold, rather than 60 votes. However, given the future political ramifications of the move, it’s more likely that GOP leadership will use parliamentary procedures to strip the wall funding from the bill and send it back to the lower chamber.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the House bill cannot pass the Senate, setting up a stalemate that could lead to a shutdown at midnight. Departments that would be impacted include Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development. Several smaller agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Small Business Administration would also be impacted.