Democrats mull keeping Senate in session overnight

Democrats mull keeping Senate in session overnight
© Greg Nash

A group of Senate Democrats are talking about forcing the Senate to stay in session overnight to protest Republican opposition to a bipartisan immigration deal.

Democratic senators say they may block a motion to adjourn the chamber on Saturday and require the Senate to stay in session until Sunday morning so they can take turns talking about the plight of "Dreamers," immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, on the floor.

The talk-a-thon would likely be led by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign T.I., Charlamagne Tha God advocate for opportunity zones on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — CBO officials testify on pros and cons of 'Medicare for All' | Booker vows to form White House office on abortion rights | Measles outbreak spreads with cases now in half the country MORE (N.J.), a Democrat considered a top-tier contender for president in 2020, with expected support from Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds Bullock: Running for Senate 'never really got me excited' Cruz asks Trump FAA pick to 'be pissed off' about Boeing crash deaths MORE (D-Hawaii), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info Democrats warn Trump may soon push through Saudi arms sale Senate panel rejects requiring Congress sign off before Iran strike MORE (D-Conn.) and other lawmakers who have supported similar efforts in the past.  

Democratic lawmakers said they did not think a deal to end the shutdown would be reached before the end of the day Saturday
The plans for a protest aren’t yet firm and there’s some question whether Democrats can recruit enough people to keep a talk-a-thon going until the wee hours.

“It will depend on whether we can get enough people, it doesn’t take much,” said a Democratic senator familiar with behind-the-scenes efforts to organize a protest.

The lawmaker said, however, there’s some concern about requiring staff to stay up through the night after late deliberations in the Senate on Thursday and Friday.

The Senate adjourned at 1:30 a.m. Saturday. 

A Democratic aide confirmed that an all-night talk-a-thon is “an idea that has been discussed” but added “it hasn’t been set.”

“Things are fluid,” the source said.

Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersSenate Commerce chair to renew push for regs on self-driving vehicles Senate Dems introduce election security bill requiring paper ballots Bipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems MORE (D-Mich.) said there’s a desire to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire.

“I think people want to get this done. We’re about to see. There are a lot of discussions going on right now,” he said when asked about keeping the chamber late.

Senior Democrats, however, such as caucus Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThreat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Senate Democrats request watchdog, Red Cross probe DHS detention facilities Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran MORE (D-Ill.), were not aware of any plans to push the legislative day well past midnight. 

“Whatever they want to do, I'm here to go to work,” he said.