Senate

Grassley opens Senate urging prayer for Trump to sign funding bill

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) opened the Senate on Thursday asking his colleagues to pray that President Trump will sign the funding bill and prevent a shutdown.

"Let's all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn't shut down," Grassley said.

The comments on the floor from Grassley, whose position as president pro tempore makes him the second-highest Senate official, are unusual.

GOP senators including Grassley generally open the Senate by leading in the pledge of allegiance and announcing who will give the daily prayer.

But his opening Thursday underscored lawmakers' desire to see the funding deal reached by a bipartisan group of negotiators get over the finish line and prevent another shutdown, after the record-long 35-day partial shutdown ended just last month.

Congress is expected to take up a funding deal that would prevent a second government shutdown in as many months later Thursday.

The bill, which would fund approximately a quarter of the federal government, includes $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Trump hasn't officially said he will sign the legislation but GOP lawmakers are hopeful that he'll support the bill and prevent kicking the federal government into another funding fight.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told CNN on Thursday that he spoke with Trump on Wednesday night and that "I pray" the president signs the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also said on the floor Thursday morning that he hopes Trump signs the bill.

"I hope each of my colleagues will join me in moving forward with the agreement produced by this hard work and the president will sign it into law," he said.

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