Congress reconvenes as shutdown enters second day

FAN Editor

House and Senate lawmakers geared up for another round of negotiations to end the government shutdown as it enters its second day, gearing up for a rare Sunday session aimed at striking a deal on spending and immigration that would reopen federal agencies ahead of the work week.

The prospects of an agreement seemed slightly less daunting Sunday morning as the fragile outlines of a potential deal began to take shape.

On CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said the lower chamber has agreed to accept a short-term deal that would fund the government through Feb. 8 if the Senate is able to pass such a bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on a Feb. 8 bill at 1 a.m. Monday.

Senate Democrats are unlikely to support a revised bill without concessions on immigration from the GOP. On Saturday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina hinted at one possibility: a bill that would fund the government in exchange for a commitment to move onto immigration after Feb. 8.

Where things stand on Day 2

  • Ryan says House would support short-term deal
  • House and Senate to reconvene in rare Sunday session
  • Trump calls on Senate to abolish filibuster
  • McConnell schedules Senate vote for 1 a.m. on continuing resolution

“After extensive discussions with Senators, on both sides of the aisle, I believe such a proposal would pass if it was understood that after February 8, the Senate would move to an immigration debate with an open amendment process if no agreement has been reached with the White House and House of Representatives,” Graham said in a statement Saturday afternoon. 

On Saturday, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach an agreement as federal agencies began implementing shutdown procedures. McConnell told reporters that lawmakers would be “right back at it” for “as long as it takes.”

“We will keep at this until Democrats end their extraordinary filibuster of government funding and children’s healthcare, and allow a bipartisan majority of Senators to reopen the federal government for all Americans and get Congress back on track,” McConnell said Saturday on the Senate floor. Senate Democrats say they will not support a funding resolution that does not include protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children under the DACA program and spending for disaster relief.A

Follow along below for updates on the shutdown. All times Eastern unless otherwise noted.

1:56 p.m.: Graham says Stephen Miller to blame for stalemate

Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that he thinks Mr. Trump has his “heart right” on the issue of immigration reform, but says “every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members.” 

“As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration we are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years,” added Graham. Graham predicted that “there will be a breakthrough tonight, if there’s going to be a one it will be tonight.”

1:35 p.m.: Democrats hold press conference on status of shutdown

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that Democrats could sign onto an agreement “in an hour,” calling on the president to come to the negotiating table to resolve the shutdown. Democrats said they were committed to do what they can to ensure military members receive their paychecks during the government shutdown. 

1:18 p.m.: Schumer calls Trump a “dysfunctional president” on Senate floor

“This political catch-22 never seen before has driven our government to dysfunction,” says Schumer of talks with Mr. Trump.

He says that the dysfunction in Washington creates the “chaos and gridlock we see today.” He added that Mr. Trump’s “inability to clinch a deal has created the Trump shutdown.”

“He can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer,” said Schumer of Mr. Trump’s position on immigration, adding that the president “walked away from two bipartisan deals” on a DACA fix. 

Schumer slammed Mr. Trump as being “unwilling to compromise” but said he was “willing to seal the deal” and “sit and work right now” with the president or anyone he designates. “Let’s get it done,” he added. 

Schumer then pivoted to U.S. military members being unpaid during the shutdown. He blamed McConnell for “preventing our troops from being paid.”

“You don’t want to use the troops as hostages. Some on the other side may be doing just that,” he added. 

1:00 p.m.: Senate back in session; McConnell speaks

The Senate resumes its negotiations on funding the federal government. 

Dr. Barry Black, the Senate chaplain, opened the rare weekend session with a prayer for lawmakers as they “seek to resolve the problem of this government shutdown,” asking to “remind them to the miscalculations in our history.”

“Provide them with the faith to trust you to direct their steps as they discontinue the blame game and strive to do the most good for the most people. May our senators be grateful for the opportunity to serve you and country in these grand and challenging time,” the chaplain prayed. 

McConnell kicked off floor speeches by announcing if nothing changes in negotiations, a cloture vote will be “no sooner than 1 a.m.” He warned the shutdown would be “much worse tomorrow.”

“Today would be a good day to end it. All we have to do is pass the common sense legislation the Senate is currently considering. Ending a government shutdown and continuing health care for children. There is nothing in this measure that my Democrat friends cannot support,” said McConnell. 

McConnell noted however that the body can “resolve this much earlier” if Democrats withdraw a procedural objection and allow the Senate to proceed to a vote. McConnell said the immigration legislation attached to the spending bill was a “non-emergency” issue. 

“Our constituents want us to end this. Secretary Mattis, our military leaders, and our governors want us to end this, and we can. Today is the right day to do it,” he added. 

12:05 p.m.: Durbin calls on Trump to “lead” during shutdown

Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois called on the president to “step up and lead us” out of the government shutdown. On “Face the Nation,” Durbin said that he was “sorry” lawmakers were in the current situation, adding that Senate Democrats were working on a funding deal “on a bipartisan basis.”

Read more from Durbin’s interview here.

12:00 p.m.: Mulvaney defends “cool” shutdown comments

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), defended comments he made on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Friday in which he said it was “kind of cool” to find out he was the person who technically shuts down the federal government. The OMB is responsible for overseeing shutdown procedures for federal agencies. He explained on “Face the Nation” that his comment was “interesting from an academic standpoint.”

He added that the administration has been “very straight forward since the beginning that we don’t want this shutdown.”

Read more from Mulvaney’s interview here.

10:42 a.m.: Ryan says House would support short-term spending deal

On “Face the Nation,” Ryan said the House would accept a proposed bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 if the Senate is able to pass such a measure. The House passed a bill to extend funding until Feb. 16 which the Senate rejected, kicking off the shutdown.

‘What Leader McConnell is going to be offering is one that has a different date on it,” Ryan told host John Dickerson. “We passed a bill keeping things funded until Feb. 16. He is going to bring up a bill keeping things funded until Feb. 8. We’ve agreed that we would accept that in the House. And so, we will see sometime today whether or not they have the votes for that. And that’s really where we are right now.”

9:30 a.m.: Pence tells troops he’s confident shutdown will be “fixed”

While speaking to U.S. troops overseas during his visit to the Middle East on countering the Islamic State Group (ISIS), Vice President Mike Pence commented on the government shutdown, saying he was confident the administration was “going to get this fixed.”

“The minority in the Senate decided to play politics with military pay, you deserve better,” he told the troops. “You shouldn’t have to worry one minute about if you’re going to be paid.”

Pence said that the administration won’t negotiate a possible immigration deal with Democrats until “they give you and your families the wages you’ve earned.”

“President Trump and I will do whatever it takes to defend you and your families. You can be confident we’re going to get this fixed. We’re going to meet our obligations to you and your families,” added Pence. 

8:25 a.m.: Sanders: Pentagon restores American Forces Network

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the American Forces Network has resumed service for those overseas serving in the U.S. military ahead of Sunday’s NFL conference championship games.

The network provides TV and radio service to U.S. military members and their dependents stationed overseas, regularly broadcasting Sunday football games for fans in the military. The resource was deemed non-essential during the government shutdown and thus was subject to being turned off during the funding disputes.

The network restored service after backlash on social media over servicemembers’ inability to watch Sunday’s games.

Dana W. White, Chief DoD Spokesperson, said in a statement that “We will continue to find solutions to support our troops at home and abroad. Congress must come to a resolution, support our troops and pass a budget soon.”

White added, “he shutdown requires us to do a lot of tedious work. Congress needs to pass a budget.”

7:42 a.m.: Trump calls for nuclear option in Senate

Hours before Congress is set to reconvene, President Trump again blamed Democrats for the shutdown and called on the Senate to eliminate the 60-vote threshold with the so-called “nuclear option” to abolish the filibuster:

However, even with a threshold of 51 votes, it’s not guaranteed Republican leaders in the Senate would be able to achieve a simple majority, given their razor-thin margin in the upper chamber.

CBS News’ Alan He, Stefan Becket and Emily Tillett contributed to this report. 

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