Senators float days-long funding bill

A group of senators is floating a days-long government funding bill as a longer House plan faces growing pushback in the Senate.

“I just want to make sure that people … who want to make sure we don’t have a shutdown and people who want to resolve differences know that there is an option to doing something different than a month-long [continuing resolution],” Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told reporters on Thursday.

Moran suggested that senators could pass stopgap bills that last only one or two days. He added that he spoke about the idea during Wednesday’s closed-door Republican policy lunch. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that he supports Moran’s idea, arguing negotiators could get a deal on immigration and defense spending in days if they wanted to.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also said he prefers a days-long stopgap measure.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) earlier Thursday also pitched a days-long stopgap bill to give negotiators more time when they announced their opposition to the House’s bill, which funds the government through mid-February.

“We will support a short-term CR for a few days to keep the government open while we stay in town and conclude our negotiations,” the two Democratic senators said.

But GOP leadership, pinning the blame for a potential shutdown squarely on Democrats, is downplaying the possibility that it would accept a shorter continuing resolution or are making back-up plans.

“No contingency plans at all. If Democrats want to shut down the government and vote against the Children’s Health Insurance Program they can do it. But it makes no sense to me,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters.

Asked if there was a chance of a shorter-term continuing resolution, Cornyn added, “No, we’re not going to do it.”

“Well then you need to tell Sen. Cornyn I respect him a lot, but he needs to get 60 votes. Good luck,” Graham told CNN, asked about Cornyn shooting down the days-long fix.

The talk of contingency plans come as the House measure has a narrow path to getting through the Senate.

With two GOP senators voting no, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need at least 11 Democratic votes to pass the funding bill.

Congress has until midnight Friday to prevent a shutdown, with the House expected to vote on its bill on Thursday evening.

Updated at 1:10 p.m.

Tags Jeff Flake Jerry Moran John Cornyn Lindsey Graham Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Tim Kaine

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