U.S. House Republicans said late on Thursday they had made progress toward passing a short-term extension of government funding to avert a politically embarrassing shutdown, after a day of tough negotiations and confusion when President Donald Trump offered mixed signals on the stopgap plan.
Hoping to garner more votes, Republicans added language providing six years of financing for the widely popular Children's Health Insurance Program and delaying some taxes imposed by President Barack Obama's health care law.
The Republicans' majority in the Senate is slim, meaning they need some Democratic support to pass a government funding measure.
As immigrants protest from coast to coast, Democrats said that without a deal, they will vote against a bill to fund the government past midnight Saturday.
Menendez, a Democrat who helped craft a Senate bipartisan immigration measure that Republican President Donald Trump rejected last week, said he hoped Kelly "got a very clear view they're going to have to come more to the center if they truly want a fix".
A partial US government shutdown last occurred in 2013, a standoff over health care policies that lasted 16 days, furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal workers and curtailed government services throughout the country. Senate GOP leaders are full steam ahead on advancing the House plan-and are also quietly planning for a potential shutdown.
"And if one happens, I think you have only one place to look, and that's to the Democrats", Sanders said during the daily briefing. Virginia's two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, whose constituents include hundreds of thousands of federal workers, announced together that they would oppose the stopgap spending bill.
"The overwhelming number in our caucus have said they don't like this deal and they believe if we kick the can down the road this time we'll be back where we started from next time", Schumer said.
Republican Senator Rand Paul, interviewed by Fox News, said: "I'll be a no vote because I'm not going to vote to continue to put the country further into debt". "There's no good reason to punish children", said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) on Wednesday night.
"The Administration supports the bill's multiyear funding extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)". "I can say that if there is not any Democrat support now, there's not enough votes to get to 218 - and that's about all I'm willing to be specific on".
There is still some doubt over whether the House will pass a short-term funding bill. Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, and the House can pass a spending plan with only GOP votes.
Talks among a bipartisan group of leaders of both the House and Senate convened Wednesday, but participants reported little progress.
For months, the Republican-controlled Congress has been struggling to fund the government, which is now operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct 1. With the fate of the spending bill uncertain, federal agencies were being instructed to prepare for partial government shutdowns throughout the country on Saturday.
Some conservatives were balking, including members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus. "That's wrong", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said. Democratic leaders said Wednesday there was broad support within the caucus to vote against any short-term bill that does not include DACA language.