HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/CNN) — Pennsylvania’s senior senator is taking aim at the Republican Party for the potential shutdown of the federal government.
Sen. Bob Casey says the GOP is mishandling the budget impasse.
“Republicans, running the House and the Senate, don’t seem like they could organize a one-car parade!”
Casey says there are many urgent issues that are not addressed in the spending plan sent to the Senate.
“The bill we got from House republicans doesn’t even have the unanimous support of Senate Republicans, let alone Senate Democrats, so it’s not a bill that can pass, in my judgement, and that’s because it has gaping holes in it.”
Casey says there is no mention of funding community health centers, veterans programs or fighting the opioid epidemic. He also says pensions for some 35,000 Pennsylvanians, including coal miners, have also been left out.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and legislative affairs director Marc Short said Friday the administration is readying for a “Schumer shutdown,” putting the blame squarely on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his fellow Democrats for obstructing a path to averting the imminent government shutdown.
Three Senate Republicans have publicly said they will not support the continuing resolution, complicating Republicans’ efforts to deflect blame for a potential shutdown.
President Donald Trump showed his support for the Republican-backed plan to keep the government open for four weeks just hours ahead of the deadline for a government shutdown, but congressional leaders still faced a daunting math problem to keep the government funded.
“Excellent preliminary meeting in Oval with @SenSchumer – working on solutions for Security and our great Military together with @SenateMajLdr McConnell and @SpeakerRyan. Making progress – four week extension would be best!” Trump tweeted Friday evening, a reference to the Republican-backed plan of funding government for the next four weeks as opposed to just a couple of days, as pitched by Democratic leaders.
The House passed a measure Thursday night to continue funding the government through mid-February, but Republican leaders in the Senate don’t have the 60 votes they need to advance it through their chamber and avoid a shutdown.
On Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell got a second and third Senate Democrat — Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and later Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — to say that they would vote to keep the government open. However, since at least two Republicans have said they’ll vote against the measure, the Kentucky Republican still might need as many as dozen more members of the opposing party in order to pass the plan. A Senate aide told CNN Friday evening that a bipartisan group of senators met to discuss the spending bill.
With fewer than eight hours until the government runs out of funding, House Republicans — who had already passed their short-term spending bill — were instructed to stay close to the Capitol.
On Friday evening, Trump also spoke by phone to House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to a source familiar.
Not speaking to each other: McConnell and Schumer. Three sources told CNN that the two leaders in the Senate had not spoken to each other on Friday as of 5 p.m. ET and have no conversations scheduled.
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, described the mood on the House floor Friday morning as “a state of bewilderment and confusion,” as members braced themselves for the possibility that they either would see a shutdown or be forced to take whatever bill the Senate sent to them.
“The Senate will likely jam us,” Dent predicted.
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