health care

On Shutdowns, Trump Once Thought ‘Pressure is on the President’
But on Thursday, he said ‘it’s up to the Democrats’

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets then-President Barack Obama moments before Trump was sworn in on Inauguration Day last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Not too long ago Donald Trump made clear who he thought always should be blamed when the government shuts down: the sitting president of the United States. 

On Thursday, when asked who should be blamed if the government is shuttered at the end of the day Friday, Trump responded: “It’s up to the Democrats” to join Republicans and vote for a House GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill that would avert a federal shutdown.

With Shutdown Looming, Trump Doubts Dems Will Keep Lights On
President: Dems want ‘illegal immigration and weak borders’

As the possibility of a government shutdown was growing Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted, “We need more Republican victories in 2018!” (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

With just hours to go before his government will shut down, President Donald Trump started the day by using that prospect to make the case for Republican candidates in November’s midterm elections.

And he teased the possibility of a shutdown in his showman style — “Shutdown coming?”

Senators Leave for the Night With No Plan to Actually Avert Shutdown
Will take some bipartisanship to even schedule a vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing Democrats to reverse course on the House’s continuing resolution (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It will take unanimous consent of 100 senators to keep the government from at least a brief shutdown.

The Senate adjourned after 10 p.m. Thursday, leaving less than a day in session to try to avert a funding lapse that was appearing inevitable, without votes scheduled on anything resembling a deal that could win bipartisan support.

Analysis: On This Episode of The Trump Show ...
Undermines party, contradicts staff before campaign-style rally

President Donald Trump introduces Ken Wilson, an employee of H&K Equipment, to supporters at a rally at the rental and sales company in Coraopolis, Pa., on Thursday. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is no longer on “The Apprentice,” but on days like Thursday, the president of the United States produces, writes and stars in a White House-based reality show, “The Trump Show,” complete with a boss who undermines his senior staff and congressional allies, prompting them to explain away the antics or ignore them.

The commander in chief started the day by torpedoing with a tweet a key GOP talking point and saying, on his way into the Pentagon for a briefing, that a government shutdown “could very well be.”

The Blame Game Over the Shutdown Showdown
Congressional leaders start pointing fingers

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is hunting for votes to keep the government open. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With less than 36 hours to avoid a shutdown of nonessential government services and no solution in sight, congressional leaders spent Thursday  offering their spin on who will be to blame if a deal cannot be struck.

Notably missing amid the rhetoric — as Republicans pointed to Democrats, while the minority said the majority is at fault — were predictions leaders had made in recent weeks that there would be no government shutdown.

Ryan Confident CR Will Pass and Has Trump’s Support
Calls Dem actions ‘governmental chaos’ using Schumer quote

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., holds his weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Thursday the four-week continuing resolution will pass, despite lingering questions about whether the votes have been secured. 

“I have confidence we’ll pass this because I think members understand, ‘Why on earth would we want a government shutdown?’” the Wisconsin Republican said.

White House Flips, Flops, Then Flips on Stopgap Spending
Trump’s tweet sends Hill into spin

President Donald Trump defied his staff by criticizing the inclusion of a provision to extend CHIP in the latest continuing budget resolution. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday undermined efforts by House Republican leaders and his own staff to avoid a government shutdown, criticizing a decision to include an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in a GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill.

Hours later the White House announced the president supported the House GOP-crafted stopgap spending measure that includes a six-year CHIP extension — despite a confusing morning tweet that raised questions to the contrary.

McConnell Appears Short of Votes Needed to Pass CR
Talks among GOP turn heated as deadline for government shutdown approaches

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is one of two Senate Republicans who have announced they will not vote for the next continuing resolution in its current form. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears increasingly unlikely to have the votes necessary to pass a short-term patch to fund the government past Friday should the House advance the measure Thursday evening.

At least three GOP senators will vote against a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Jan. 19, as Republican congressional leaders struggle to find the votes in either chamber to advance it. They will join a large chunk of Democrats who also say they will oppose the CR.

Trump Might Avoid Republican Primaries
President tells Reuters he plans to campaign heavily for GOP candidates in midterms

President Donald Trump said he’ll spend “probably four or five days a week” campaigning for Republican candidates in the midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump says that he will campaign frequently for Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections, but might avoid getting involved in primaries.

“I am going to spend probably four or five days a week helping people because we need more Republicans,” he told Reuters. “To get the real agenda through, we need more Republicans.”

Opinion: Welcome to S-Town
Congress should try fixing problems instead of creating them

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones won an election against an accused pedophile, only to find himself in the midst of Washington’s craziness, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

You have to wonder what’s going through newly elected Sen. Doug Jones’ mind as he experiences his second full week in the Senate. Can you imagine winning an election against an accused pedophile, only to arrive in the one square mile of America that is crazier than the circumstances that brought you here?

What about Sen. Tina Smith, who replaced Al Franken after he voluntarily resigned for sexual harassment he said he mostly never committed?  Congress made even less sense on Tuesday, when the prevailing debate among senators was not about Korea or nuclear war or the economy or education, but over whether President Donald Trump had called Haiti and all of Africa a “shithole” or a “shithouse” in a meeting with senators last week.