Inside the Trump-Congress Christmas meltdown

Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungThe Hill's Morning Report — The wall problem confronting Dems and the latest on Dorian House passes bill requiring CBP to enact safety, hygiene standards GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions MORE had had enough.

House lawmakers were in the midst of a marathon voting session on Thursday — a 35-vote slog demanded by a single lawmaker — when the cantankerous Alaska Republican stormed down the aisle of the House floor and began screaming at Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsJustice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser House antitrust panel seeks internal records from Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook MORE (R-Ga.), who was presiding over the chamber, to close down the vote.

The 85-year-old Young, the dean of the House and longest-serving member, was furious that the vote was left open for Rep. Donald Payne Jr.Donald Milford Payne Jr.Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Harris hops past Biden in early race for Black Caucus support Biden, Harris lead in 2020 endorsements MORE (D-N.J.), who has been limping around the Capitol on a booted foot.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Next time, you bang that gavel,” Young shouted at Collins while shaking his fist. “Until he is in the goddamn well, it don’t count!”

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyPence extends olive branch to Cummings after Trump's Baltimore attacks Marijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis McCarthy: Trump traveling to Baltimore shows he cares about the city MORE (R-Calif.), standing near Young, gently scolded him, according to lawmakers on the floor: “You’re on TV. That’s not very Dean-like.’ ”

The episode underlined how tempers are at an all-time high in the Capitol as Washington barrels toward its third shutdown of 2018 — just four days before Christmas — in what could be the House GOP’s final act in the majority.

A partial shutdown will occur at midnight Friday unless President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE and Democrats reach an eleventh-hour deal to fund a handful of government agencies.

Across the Capitol complex this week, lawmakers wore tired, gloomy looks on their faces as they limped to the finish line of the 115th Congress. They wanted to be anywhere but here over the holidays — especially the lame-duck Republicans who lost their reelection bids last month.

One cranky Republican said he wanted to rip the phone away from Trump, who’s been agitating for a Christmas shutdown over demands for his $5 billion border wall.

“The president tweets too much!” the lawmaker said. “I shave [myself] but I don’t tweet about it!”

Earlier Thursday, a closed-door meeting of House Republicans descended into chaos when member after member stood up at the microphone and rejected leadership’s initial plan to quickly take up a funding bill without Trump’s wall.

Another frustrated GOP lawmaker called leadership “stupid” for holding a meeting before a vote on the clean continuing resolution, or CR. They should have just put it on the floor, the lawmaker said.

The unexpected revolt came after lawmakers began receiving hundreds of phone calls from constituents outraged that Republicans were not demanding Trump’s wall before relinquishing control of the House to Democrats next month. Conservative radio and TV hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity had personally lobbied Trump to shut the government down if Democrats don’t give him his wall; Trump got the message and vowed to fight.

“Do we succumb to tyranny of talk-radio show hosts? I mean, this is a juvenile place we find ourselves,” retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn) told reporters on Friday. “The reason we’re here is that we have a couple talk-radio hosts that get the president spun up.”

The House eventually pushed through a funding bill for Trump’s border wall, but the package is dead on arrival in the Senate, dramatically increasing the chances of a Christmastime shutdown that would force members to work through the holidays.

Not every House Republican appeared to be in a hurry to drive down the shutdown path. A trio of lawmakers was spotted at Tortilla Coast, a Capitol Hill Tex-Mex restaurant, after they were called back to the House to vote on the wall package Thursday evening.

“One more round!” a lawmaker called out to their waiter.

“I think they already called the vote,” a reporter interjected.

“They can’t pass this thing without us,” another lawmaker shot back.

Making life even more miserable for his colleagues, Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieAirports already have plenty of infrastructure funding Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Ky.) forced roll call votes on more than two dozen bipartisan bills in an unrelated protest over U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen — what one northeastern lawmaker referred to as “Massie’s tantrum.”

When Massie stood up to formally request a recorded vote on one of the measures, the Kentucky Republican was met with a round of bipartisan boos from his disgruntled colleagues.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s been a high drama, high stakes week,” added Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTexas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks House panel calls for Afghanistan envoy to testify about deal with Taliban, hints at subpoena MORE (R-Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “Not to mention Massie calling for recorded votes on every suspension bill. Throw that into the chaos.”

If that drama wasn’t enough, the stock market plummeted on news of an interest rate hike and potential government closure. And key defense hawks on Capitol Hill were entirely caught off guard by Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisUS could deploy 150 troops to Syria: report Trump blasts 'Mr. Tough Guy' Bolton: 'He made some very big mistakes' Congress needs to get its act together for defense funding MORE’s resignation over policy differences with Trump.

Both Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryRepublicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks MORE and McCaul, both Texas Republicans, said they got no heads up that Mattis was heading for the exit.

“Holy shit!” exclaimed one Republican on the Armed Services Committee when a reporter shared the news about Mattis. “Don’t quote me on that.”

Democrats took every opportunity to exploit the turmoil unfolding across the aisle. Of all people, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Tim Ryan debuts 'album' on Spotify to pitch 2020 platform 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the September Democratic debate MORE (D-Ohio), who led a failed coup against expected Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Calif.) just weeks earlier, slammed Trump and his party for sowing chaos in government, the economy and national security.   

“This government is in chaos; it’s in a free fall. The market’s in a free fall. The staffing at the White House is in a free fall. The secretary of Defense is gone. We’re pulling out of Syria. What is going on?” Ryan said in a fiery floor speech.

On Friday, as senators who were dragged back to the Capitol to vote on the House-passed package that they knew was doomed to fail, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Harris keeps up 'little dude' attack on Trump after debate MORE (R-Ky.) held up a button to reporters that he said summed up the mood of the conference: “Senate Cranky Coalition,” it read.

The lawmaker who received the award for the most miserable holiday travel story: Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzState probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball Hundreds of Bahamians told to leave evacuation ship headed to US: report MORE.

On Thursday, a day after the Senate passed its clean funding package, the Hawaii Democrat hopped on an 11-hour flight out of D.C. to see his wife and kids, thinking his work was done for the year.

But when he landed in beautiful 78-degree weather in Honolulu, Schatz got word that he was needed back in Washington ASAP to help block the House GOP’s wall package. He phoned Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who told him to catch the next flight back to D.C.

“17 minute visit w the fam,” Schatz tweeted with a photo with his wife and kids in their minivan.

“[My wife] gave me some clean underwear and a T-shirt and I was able to hug the kids, and then turned right around,” Schatz recalled in the Capitol on Friday.