All eyes are on the Senate today as they prepare to take up a bill passed in the House of Representatives very late last night. Both chambers of Congress are scrambling to prevent a government shutdown. The money allocated to keep the government running is set to run out at midnight today. Thus, if the Senate cannot pass something and get it to the desk of the President, then the Federal government will be forced to shut down.
CNBC reports that while the House of Representatives passed the bill last night, the bigger hurdle has always been in the Senate. The House of Representatives just needed a simple majority to get the bill passed. This is not true for the Senate. There, it will require a sixty vote majority to get it passed.
There have been some reports that perhaps the Senate could take up a bill that would continue to fund the government on a very short-term basis. They might be able to pass a continuing resolution that lasted for a week or so to allow the government to continue to function while they worked out the details of a deal. This idea has been criticized by both sides though as merely kicking the can down the road.
The Democrats are spoiling for a fight about DACA legislation. They know that DACA recipients are in real danger in March when their waivers expire. If DACA is not renewed, then those individuals may have to face the real possibility of being deported. It was something that they could worry a lot less about during the Obama Administration. The Democrats would like to see these individuals protected. However, Donald Trump and the Republicans seem fine with letting DACA expire.
This is the bargaining chip on which the Democrats have been staking their opposition to the continuing resolution. Republicans hold a very narrow 51-49 advantage in the Senate, so they would need the support of numerous Democrats to get the current bill passed. That does not seem all that likely at the moment, so it could be that we are really headed for a government shutdown.
It will be interesting to see in the days, weeks, and months to come which part or individuals receive the blame for the government shutdown if it really does come to pass. It is easy to see how this one could go either way in the minds of the public.