Can A Government Shutdown Be Stopped? GOP Votes Pose A Challenge You Didn't See Coming
With a government shutdown looming on Dec. 21, POTUS faces more challenges than one. Most notably, he has been locked in an utter stalemate with Democratic leaders over the $5 billion in funding he wants for a border wall, with both sides of the partisan aisle refusing to back down on the topic. But there's another lesser known obstacle for those hoping a government shutdown can be stopped: there might not be enough Republican lawmakers to vote on a budget to begin with, even if POTUS and Democrats do come up with a compromise.
According to The New York Times, a number of retiring and defeated Republican lawmakers have been absent from votes in recent weeks. And given that the House would require a majority vote of approval for a proposed budget to move up to the Senate, the absence of Republicans could, ironically, lead to a shutdown anyways.
The New York Times doesn't state just how many lawmakers have skipped recent votes. However, according to The Atlantic and CNN, there are a total of 28 retiring House Republicans, as well as 21 House Republicans who were defeated by Democrats in the midterms and will not return to Congress in the New Year.
In order to reach the 218 votes needed for a majority in the House, and assuming that all 197 Democrats currently serving in the House would vote for the budget, then at least 21 Republicans would have to be present and willing to vote in favor of the budget in order for it to pass.
Of course, that's assuming that Democrats and POTUS reach a compromise to begin with — and as of Sunday, neither party seems willing.
On CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday, senior Trump advisor Stephen Miller said, "At stake is the question of whether or not the United States remains a sovereign country. The Democrat Party has a simple choice. They can either choose to fight for America's working class or to promote illegal immigration. You can't do both."
To NBC's Meet the Press on the same day, Sen. Chuck Schumer argued that Republican lawmakers needed to stand up to Trump. "They just have to have the guts to tell President Trump he’s off on the deep end here, and all he is going to get with his temper tantrum is a shutdown," he said. "He will not get a wall.”
Schumer also said that Republicans could consider either of the proposals that Democrats have set forth: the $1.6 billion offered in the current proposed Senate bill, which would not provide a wall but would include border fencing upgrades, or the current $1.3 billion in funding for the wall.
"If the president wants to debate the wall next year, he can," Schumer said. "I don't think he'll get it. But he shouldn't use innocent workers as hostage for his temper tantrum to sort of throw a bone to his base."
On ABC News' This Week, Susan Collins argued that senators should reconsider a bill that she pushed for earlier in the year, which would provide $2.5 billion in funding for non-wall-related border security upgrades. Collins said of her proposal, "There's a compromise and people will come to the table in good faith on both sides. We have to prevent a government shutdown."
POTUS will inevitably have the final word on whether he's willing to consider any of the compromise proposals.