- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Efforts to postpone a government shutdown have stalled in the Senate, where an anticipated vote on a stopgap spending resolution was not held Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the House voted 231-192 to approve a temporary funding measure known as a continuing resolution to keep the government running through Dec. 20.

Funding for the government is scheduled to expire Thursday at midnight. While Republicans and Democrats agreed Wednesday that a vote will be held in time to avoid another partial shutdown, no vote happened.

“Here’s the problem: Republicans can’t pass the annual funding bills alone. We need cooperation from the Democrats,” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, on the Senate floor. “We need the House Democrats’ cooperation, and here in the Senate you need to clear the 60-vote hurdle, so we need Senate Democrats to be involved in the process as well. But Democrats prefer impeachment grandstanding rather than governing — that’s what we’re facing here today.”

Mr. Barrasso, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said Wednesday afternoon that the upper chamber would “undoubtedly” pass a stopgap spending measure but said the temporary fix was the only solution in sight due to the Democrats’ “impeachment fever rag[ing] on.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, however, said Wednesday that the Senate made “some progress” in recent days toward completing the appropriations process. The New York Democrat said he was working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on the temporary spending fix, but he added that the Senate “must look ahead” to complete the appropriations process by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schumer rejected the idea that impeachment is responsible for the Senate’s slowdown and said Democrats in both chambers are able to continue doing the work of the American people.

“The idea that the House impeachment inquiry is some sort of distraction from other issues is plain wrong,” he said on the Senate floor.

Mr. McConnell indicated this week that Senate Republicans and President Trump were eager to dispense with the shutdown showdown and was encouraged by the House’s action on Tuesday. He did not appear so enthusiastic Wednesday.

One major obstacle is how the continuing resolution and appropriators are choosing to deal with the military. House Democrats such as Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts suggested that the armed forces need temporary funding legislation and have pointed to a 3.1% pay raise for the military included in the legislation.

Senate Republicans, however, have countered that the legislation does not provide the certainty and preparedness the military needs.

A longer-term fix to the larger appropriations impasse does not look likely anytime soon. With senators preparing for the prospect of an impeachment trial for Mr. Trump beginning near the onset of the new year, bitter partisan battles look to heat up the longer the spending showdown continues.

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