Senate

GOP snag complicates Schumer’s China bill — again

A bill aimed at combating China’s competitiveness is hitting another last-minute snag threatening to push the Senate late into the night.

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, told reporters as he returned to the Capitol that “we have an objection now to doing anything.”

“I’m not sure how we resolve this one,” Thune said, adding that “it’s pretty unsolvable.”

The hang-up, per Republicans, is that one GOP senator has objected to moving anything as they try to get their proposal into a final package of amendments expected to be added into the China legislation.

Thune said that he expects senators to start being called back to the Capitol to “figure out if there’s a path forward.”

“As of right now there’s no real path forward,” he added.

A GOP source said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is the senator who has ground the Senate to a halt with a request related to the border wall.

Johnson appeared to acknowledge that he was the sticking point.

“Everybody else seems to have gotten something in this managers package,” he said, adding that reporters should expect to be in the Capitol for a “long time.”

Senators were instructed to come back to the Capitol shortly after 10 p.m. where they are expected to huddle on the floor and try to work out an agreement, two aides confirmed.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) confirmed that there was a GOP senator holding up the bill, but declined to discuss it saying he didn’t want to “give it oxygen.”

“Our members are concerned they didn’t get amendments, but I think we’re working through it,” he added, predicting that it would be solved “late tonight.”

It’s the latest setback for the China legislation after it was held in limbo for hours earlier Thursday as Schumer cut a deal with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on his trade and tariff amendment.

That was ultimately resolved when senators voted overwhelmingly to add Crapo’s proposal into the bill, which was expected to be the last stumbling block before the bill could pass the Senate.

But since then, the bill has been in limbo for hours as leadership has tried to iron out the final package of amendments.

Updated 10:32 p.m.

Tags John Thune Mike Crapo Rob Portman Ron Johnson
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