Trump, Schumer meeting hours ahead of shutdown deadline
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Donald Trump are meeting at the White House Friday afternoon, just hours ahead of the deadline for a government shutdown.
Trump called the New York Democrat and invited him personally, a person familiar with the plans told CNN.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not be at the meeting, a source said, adding that he and Trump have been in touch during the day by telephone. Neither will House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was addressing the “March for Life” rally around the same time. McConnell and Ryan were aware that the White House was going to invite Schumer to the White House, one Republican source said.
White House aides made clear to GOP staff this morning there was no daylight between the President and Hill Republicans this morning, especially on immigration, according to two sources.
The House passed a measure to continue funding the government through mid-February but Republican leaders in the Senate don’t have the 60 votes they need to advance it through their chamber and avoid a shutdown.
With fewer than 12 hours until the government runs out of funding, House Republicans — who had already passed their short-term spending bill– were instructed to stay close to the Capitol.
Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, described the mood on the House floor Friday morning as “a state of bewilderment and confusion,” as members braced themselves for the possibility that they either would see a shutdown or be forced to take whatever bill the Senate sent to them.
“The Senate will likely jam us,” Dent predicted.
Meanwhile, a Democratic senator told CNN a realization set in at the Senate gym Friday morning that Republicans and Democrats were just talking past each other and making incorrect assumptions about how to address each others’ issues and demands seriously upping the odds of a shutdown.
At this point, Senate Republicans are hoping to get more guidance from Trump and the White House about how to proceed. However, a bipartisan group of senators — members who know and have long-standing relationships with one another– have yet to sit down and try to hammer out a compromise.
House Republicans had been scheduled to be on recess next week, but many of the members said they weren’t going home until they knew there was resolution.
“I’m not going home if the government shuts down,” said Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson.
Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia, told CNN that he was also prepared to stay, although he added “Mitch McConnell needs to stand and fight.”