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Feinstein: 'People die' in a government shutdown

Feinstein: 'People die' in a government shutdown
© Camille Fine

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace: I told Jeb Bush 'he should have punched' Trump 'in the face' Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday ratcheted up her rhetoric against a looming government shutdown, despite her stated opposition earlier in the day to a proposed short-term funding measure.

“Shutting down the government is a very serious thing. People die, accidents happen. You don’t know. Necessary functions can cease,” Feinstein told CNN, calling a shutdown “a last resort.”

Congress must pass a spending bill before Friday night to avert a government shutdown, but Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach an agreement on a short-term or long-term solution.

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Despite her concerns, Feinstein said earlier Thursday she would not vote for a stopgap funding bill unless it included a fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Feinstein later Thursday told CNN she was undecided on how she would vote on a potential short-term funding bill.

Even with Feinstein's uncertainty, Senate Democrats said Thursday they have the necessary votes to block a House measure to fund the government through mid-February.

According to The Hill’s whip list, nearly 40 Democratic senators are prepared to vote “no” on the GOP bill, as are a few Republicans.

The opposition means the Senate would not be able to get the 60 votes needed to proceed.

The bill must also pass the House, where it is facing opposition from Democrats as well as  Republicans from the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The government would shut down on Saturday without a new funding bill.