The Senate’s first potential movement on reopening the government came Tuesday afternoon, when news broke that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would finally allow a vote on a continuing resolution to fund the shut-down agencies through Feb. 8 … but only after a vote on Donald Trump’s build-a-wall plan.
The likely scenario is that McConnell, who has sworn he wouldn’t hold a vote on something Trump wouldn’t sign, has locked down the Republican votes against the clean reopening bill. But others have suggested that Senate Republicans might agree to reopen the government for just long enough to give Trump his State of the Union address, then allow it to shut down again on Feb. 8. It’s also possible, of course, that McConnell’s vote-counting won’t hold up.
Some observers have noted that “the decision to set those votes so that Republicans would go first, and then Democrats second, raised questions about whether GOP Senators might vote first to approve money for a border wall, and then also vote to re-open the government, despite the President’s opposition,” Jamie Dupree reports. The plan has to be tempting both for any Republicans expecting to be vulnerable in 2020 re-elections and for Republicans from Gulf Coast states that would get disaster relief funding if it passes.
Voters want the government reopened. How many Republican senators are going to put themselves officially, individually on the record against that? We’ll find out Thursday.