Speed Reads

Government Shutdown

House votes to reopen the government, with 5 Republicans backing bill with no wall funds

On Thursday night, the newly sworn-in House passed a package of bills that would reopen the federal government, one funding just the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8 and the others financing the remaining shuttered federal agencies for the rest of the fiscal year. About a quarter of the government has been shut down since Dec. 22. Five Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the DHS bill, which does not include money for President Trump's border wall, 239-192, and two more Republicans joined in to fund the departments of Agriculture, State, Justice, Interior, and others closed for 13 days and counting.

President Trump reiterated that he would veto any bill that does not fund his proposed border wall. "You can call it a barrier, you can call it whatever you want," Trump said in brief surprise remarks in the White House briefing room, but "without a wall you cannot have border security." New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday night that Senate Republicans should "take 'yes' for an answer" and pass the bill, adding, "We are sending them back exactly, word for word, what they have passed" in December. "We're not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we're not doing a wall?" Pelosi said, calling Trump's proposal "a wall between reality and his constituents."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been adamant that the Senate won't take up any funding legislation that Trump won't publicly commit to signing, but two Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2020 broke with him Thursday. "I'm not saying their whole plan is a valid plan, but I see no reason why the bills that are ready to go and on which we've achieved an agreement should be held hostage to this debate over border security," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said work on border security "should be done when the government is fully open."