The partial government shutdown entered day 35 with a glimmer of hope and now what seems to be an agreement reached between the White House and Congress. But first, yesterday two different set of proposals, one Republican and one Democrat, failed to garner the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to reopen the government. However that after voting for packages to reopen the government failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are in talks to find some way to bridge the divide for the first time since the shutdown began.
Over the previous 34 days, McConnell had expressed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer had to negotiate with the president, not with him. The majority leader said he would not bring anything to the Senate floor that President Trump would not explicitly say he would sign. This is because, in December, the White House walked back its support of a deal that fully funded the government after McConnell already passed the package by unanimous consent.
Tensions are running high in the Republican caucus after Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin lashed out at McConnell during a Republican policy lunch in front of the whole caucus and Vice President Mike Pence, saying, “This is your fault,” to McConnell. While McConnell snapped back “Are you suggesting I'm enjoying this?” There seems to be growing angst among Republicans in the Senate and the White House, especially after two Republicans senators rejected Trump’s proposal and six other Republicans defected to vote with Democrats to reopen the government without wall funding. Only one Democrat voted with Republicans on the budget vote that included wall funding.
House Democrats are also growing restless, especially the new class of freshman who want to start moving on the agenda they campaigned on. About 20 House Democrats marched over to the Senate to try to pressure Republicans into backing a clean spending bill. Another group of House Democrats are preparing a counter-offer to President Trump that would provide at least $5 billion in border security money, matching what he is asking and above the $1.6 billion in the original bill, but the money would not be able to be used to build the wall. The proposal is still a work in progress, including whether they should just put the bill up for a vote or talk to the president first and get his buy-in before moving forward.
After all the pressure built, it looks like President Trump has agreed to end the partial government shutdown by funding the government through February 15 with the understanding that the next three weeks will be used to discuss a package over border security. One thing remains clear: Until the partial government shutdown or the threat of shutdown is over, other legislative items are taking a back seat, including the agent, broker and benefits specialist agenda. Here is to hoping they can resolve their differences and get back to working for the American people.
Did you know...Due to limited space, there is a chance that tickets for this event will not be available at the conference, so be sure to go online and pre-order tickets today. The standard ticket price is $150. If you are a member of the HUPAC Capitol Club ($1,000 & up), you can purchase your ticket for $75 by contacting Anthony Perez. The cost of your ticket will count toward your annual HUPAC contribution total and can help you achieve Capitol, Congressional or 365 Club status if you are not there already. Click here to purchase your ticket! You need to log in using your NAHU credentials.
…that you can come mingle, eat and drink with members of Congress and fellow NAHU members at the Annual HUPAC Congressional Reception on Tuesday, February 26, at 5:00 p.m.? Enjoy the view from the top of the Hyatt Regency. We expect between 15 and 20 members of Congress to attend, representing NAHU members across the country.