House-passed stopgap measure in Senate limbo

A stopgap government funding measure that provides $5.7 billion for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE's wall and border security is stuck in Senate limbo. 

The Senate began taking an initial procedural vote on the House-passed bill at 12:31 p.m., but quickly ran into problems.

The vote has currently been open for more than four hours with the tally at 44-46, a few votes short of the amount needed to advance it.


Republicans hold a one-seat majority, meaning if every senator voted they could afford to lose one GOP senator and still let Vice President Pence break a tie. GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (Ariz.), who is retiring, voted against proceeding on the House bill. 

"Right now it's still an open question" if we'll get on the bill, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters after the vote had been open for more than an hour and a half. "Hopefully we'll know soon." 

Absent an elevnth-hour agreement the House bill is expected to fail in the Senate, where it will need to overcome a 60-vote filibuster. But failing on the first procedural vote would be a setback for Republicans, and an embarrassment for Trump, showing his preferred plan can't get even a simple majority in the Senate. 

Hours into the vote, Vice President Pence, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Bolton lawyer slams 'corrupted' White House review process after book leak Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell MORE and White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerSuspicions cloud Trump's Middle East peace plan Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden calls on NSA to examine White House cybersecurity following Bezos hack MORE briefly met with Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Impeachment has been a dud for Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), sparking hope among senators about the chances of a deal. 
"The fact that that's happening represents progress," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Nadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican. "I'm feeling now better than I did an hour ago because that meeting is occurring." 

It's not clear if every senator will be in Washington, D.C., for the vote.

Scores of senators returned home Wednesday, after the Senate passed a seven-week bill that didn't include the boost in border funds, though several indicated they would return for a crucial government funding vote. 

"We have some that aren't coming back for various reasons. ..Some have no incentive to come back because they're not returning in January," Cornyn said.  

Several senators including Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden wins endorsement of Sacramento mayor Roberts under pressure from both sides in witness fight MORE(D-Calif.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerLobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report MORE (R-Nev.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus MORE (D-Wash.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallIt is time for companies and governments to holistically tackle single-use plastics Citizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall MORE (D-N.M.) haven't yet voted. 

Corker, who is retiring, was spotted chatting with Democrats on the Senate floor. He then left the floor without voting and told reporters as he went to talk with Republicans that he needed "intel."