Senate unable to reach a deal; government shut down at midnight

CNN government shutdown Washington capitol generic_677654

UPDATE: The key procedural vote needed to advance the short-term spending bill funding the government was short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate late tonight, and the government officially shut down at midnight for the first time since 2013.

Intense last minute talks on and off the Senate floor to reach a last minute deal after most of the votes were cast failed.

WASHINGTON (CNN)– Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a key procedural vote Friday night on a plan to avert a government shutdown, but it’s still unclear if there are enough votes to keep the government open.

McConnell set the vote on the proposal at 10 p.m. Sixty votes will be needed to advance the bill. Republicans only control 51 seats, so GOP leaders need Democratic votes to cross that threshold.

Two Democrats who are counting votes told CNN the proposal scheduled to be voted on does not have the votes to pass as of 7:15 p.m. ET, though those Democrats said it was possible a shorter-term deal could be cut before the 10 p.m. vote.

On Friday afternoon, McConnell got a second and third Senate Democrat — Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and later Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — to say that they would vote to keep the government open. However, since at least two

Republicans have said they’ll vote against the measure, the Kentucky Republican still might need as many as dozen more members of the opposing party in order to pass the plan.

The House passed a measure Thursday night to continue funding the government through mid-February. President Donald Trump showed his support for that plan just hours before that vote was scheduled.

“Excellent preliminary meeting in Oval with @SenSchumer – working on solutions for Security and our great Military together with @SenateMajLdr McConnell and @SpeakerRyan. Making progress – four week extension would be best!” Trump tweeted Friday evening, a reference to the Republican-backed plan of funding government for the next four weeks as opposed to just a couple of days, as pitched by Democratic leaders.

With fewer than five hours until the government runs out of funding, House Republicans — who had already passed their short-term spending bill — were instructed to stay close to the Capitol.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” that as efforts continue to reach an agreement, “we’re in a weekend so we have a little more flexibility here.”

On Friday evening, Trump also spoke by phone to House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to a source familiar.

Not speaking to each other: McConnell and Schumer. Three sources told CNN that the two leaders in the Senate had not spoken to each other on Friday as of 5 p.m. and have no conversations scheduled.

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