The federal government will shut down on Friday at 11:59 p.m. if Congress fails to pass a short-term spending bill in the next 36 hours.
Because Republicans control the government, leaders like President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must put together a spending bill that gains enough support to pass the House and Senate.
But some Democrats and Miami Republicans say they will vote against any spending bill if a solution for 800,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children — isn’t imminent. Friday is not the final deadline for passing a Dreamer fix, because the Obama-era executive action called DACA, which allows Dreamers to live and work in the U.S. without the threat of deportation, expires in March. Congress has a few more weeks to come up with a deal, but lawmakers upset with the ongoing negotiations are using the Friday deadline as leverage to force action.
Sen. Marco Rubio is urging the House and Senate to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open even if leaders can’t agree on a DACA solution by Friday night.
“You can’t shut down the government over DACA,” Rubio said earlier this week. “The deadline is in March, not Friday of this week. One of the implications of doing so is that the government will not be able to process the permits that people are applying for, so it’s almost counterproductive.”
If Senate Democrats uniformly oppose a short-term spending plan because it lacks a Dreamer solution, the government will shut down, because a spending bill requires 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, and Republicans control only 51 seats.
But Republicans in Congress have traditionally relied on Democrats to join them on votes to keep the government open — to make up for the Republicans who are concerned about the federal deficit and object to short-term spending bills that don’t cut the federal budget.
Here are some of the biggest questions that must be resolved to pass a spending bill. Keep in mind congressional leaders will typically make last-second deals to secure the votes of members who are wavering.
Read more here.