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 TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE over the partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day.

ADVERTISEMENT
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 KinzingerBooker, Gabbard to make appearances with Colbert The Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat The Hill's Morning Report - Citing probes, Trump says 2020 race has begun 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 StiversThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today Schultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid New push to open banks to marijuana industry 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 DavisOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests 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 McCarthyHouse leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America Overnight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide 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) Thomas KingRepublicans defend McCain amid Trump attacks The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes second major gun bill 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.