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GOP emphasizes unity ahead of new shutdown votes

The House is set to vote Wednesday on the first of a series of bills to reopen the government, beginning with the Treasury Department, IRS and Small Business Administration.

The votes are intended to put pressure on GOP lawmakers to break with President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE over the partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day.

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Seven GOP lawmakers voted last week to reopen much of the government, while five backed a stopgap measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8. Democrats are hoping to see more defections on Wednesday.

The vote comes on a furious day of politicking in Washington over the border wall and shutdown.

President Trump visited Senate Republicans at midday and then met for a brief meeting with congressional leaders in both parties, which he pronounced a “waste of time” after Democrats refused to give in on their demand that he reopen the government.

The White House has worked furiously to cut down on the number of Republicans voting with Democrats in the House, and some centrists said they expected only one or two more GOP lawmakers to vote for the Treasury bill than the seven who voted with Democrats last week.

But GOP lawmakers said they believe the number of GOP defections will continue to increase as the shutdown looms on. 

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFirst release from Fox News Books reaches No. 2 on Amazon top-seller list GOP lawmaker says colleagues 'waiting' for Trump to come to terms with loss GOP lawmaker: Trump implementing a 'loyalty purge' amid firing of top cybersecurity official MORE (R-Ill.) said he’s open to crossing party lines, arguing they need a deal to stop “this stupid shutdown idiocy cycle.”

“I’m going to look at each bill on the merits of their own,” he told CNN Wednesday. “If they’re clean and good bills, I’ll look at them on the individual merits as opposed to any kind of political leverage issue.

Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversLawmakers highlight housing affordability, struggling businesses in push for more COVID-19 aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - Vaccine breakthrough spurs markets; McConnell warns Trump on Afghanistan GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (R-Ohio) said he’s currently leaning toward voting "no," but hasn’t ruled out backing other measures. Stivers, who previously served as the campaign chairman for House Republicans, said voting in favor of legislation that’s dead on arrival in the upper chamber gives him pause.

The Senate, controlled by Republicans, is not expected to vote on any of the bills as long as there is no deal between Democrats and Trump.

Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Biden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond MORE (R-Ill.) also said he’s reviewing the text of the individual bills before he makes his ultimate decision.

“It's got to be done on an individual basis — I think a lot of members are concerned, you know, when is this going to end? The impact that it’s having on many of the federal workers in their districts,” he told the Hill. “But just like every bill you've got to take it on a bill-by-bill and case-by-case basis.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight MORE (R-Calif.), who castigated Democrats after the White House meeting, said he’s confident his conference will largely remain unified.

“From my feeling with the Democrats, especially with their leadership answer last night, I think it's more the other way around,” he told The Hill, referring to possible defections in both parties. “Their freshmen, especially at their retreat, seem very nervous of what's happening.”

But no Democrats have broken from the party’s leadership so far on votes to reopen the government without offering money for the border wall.

Of the seven GOP members that opted to buck party leadership last week, at least one member, Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingRundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day Democrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Treasury withheld nearly M from FDNY 9/11 health program MORE (R-N.Y.), said he doesn’t plan to vote in favor of the Democrat-backed bills slated to come to the floor.

“Right now Pelosi and Schumer are not moving at all, says they are locked in and are pushing out same legislation,” King told The Hill. “I think they have an obligation to move and compromise with the president.”

Niv Elis and Olivia Beavers contributed.