Congress left town Thursday for a five-day weekend with no clear plans for how to avoid a partial government shutdown next week. Democrats said they were waiting for Republicans to make a move, Politico reported, while Republicans said they were waiting to hear from President Trump.
“There is no discernable plan. None that’s been disclosed. Everybody’s looking to [Trump] for a signal about what he wants to do. So far, it’s not clear,” Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday.
The plan: Trump is reportedly considering a short-term spending bill that would push the fight over the border wall into January. The two-week funding package would keep the government open through the holidays, and perhaps longer for some departments.
The upside for Trump: The president would avoid a holiday shutdown, for which he would clearly take the blame, while spending a long holiday in Florida. As an added bonus, a border wall fight in early January would give Trump the opportunity to disrupt Democrats as they open Congress with a House majority for the first time in years.
Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur summarized the argument in favor of passing a short-term continuing resolution, or CR, on Twitter: “It's 4 days before Christmas; who wants to hang in DC? Can't shut it down and skip town. And for what? No endgame. Plus Ryan is leaving; if he puts up a short-term CR it'd pass House + then Senate. Trump could talk himself into fighting later.”
Politico put it this way: “MAKE NO MISTAKE: This would be a fold from the president, and would be read as such by his base on Capitol Hill. The White House would try to sell it as a victory, of sorts, heading into the holiday. IT WOULD, HOWEVER, BE a recognition that the math simply isn't there for Trump as he pushes for a $5-billion border wall.”