Thursday July 2nd, 2020 8:57AM

The Latest: Senate Democrats derail bill to avert shutdown

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local):

11 p.m.

Senate Democrats appear to have derailed a Republican bill aimed at preventing a federal shutdown set to begin as soon as the calendar flips to Saturday.

Friday's late-night vote means at least a short government closure is all but unavoidable. There have been no clear public signs that the two parties have significantly narrowed their disputes over immigration and the budget.

The House approved the measure Thursday over Democratic opposition. It would keep agencies afloat through Feb. 16, but Democrats want a package lasting just days in hopes of intensifying pressure on the GOP to compromise.

Republicans control the Senate 51-49. The GOP needed 60 votes to prevail, but the tally was 50-48 as of 11 p.m. Eastern time. The Senate is awaiting a final vote from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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10:30 p.m.

The Trump administration will exempt several hundred presidential staffers from mandatory furloughs if the government shuts down at midnight.

Contingency plans released Friday night show that 659 Executive Office of the President staffers would be allowed to report to duty because they are considered essential workers. More than 1,000 of 1,700 staffers would be furloughed.

The number is higher than the Obama administration, which deemed 545 staffers essential in 2015.

The Executive Office of the President includes those who work in White House Office, the Office of the Vice President and the National Security Council, among others.

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9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says efforts to avert a government shutdown are "Not looking good."

Trump says in a tweet late Friday evening that it's "Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border."

And he's blaming Democrats, saying they want a federal government shutdown "in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy."

Lawmakers are trying to hash out a deal to keep the federal government open. A partial shutdown will begin at midnight if Congress doesn't pass a funding bill.

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8:55 p.m.

Newly minted Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is breaking ranks with party leaders and will vote for the House-passed Republican bill preventing a federal shutdown.

Jones tells The Associated Press he will "reluctantly" vote for the measure late Friday. He says he's backing it because the measure contains fresh financing for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which helps low-income children.

It will be Jones' highest-profile vote since he joined the Senate Jan. 3 after his upset special election victory over conservative Roy Moore.

Democrats say they have the votes to block the GOP measure. Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but need 60 votes to prevail.

Jones joins at least three other Democrats saying they'll support the bill: North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana's Joe Donnelly and West Virginia's Joe Manchin.

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7:30 p.m.

Administration officials say President Donald Trump would be allowed to travel to Davos, Switzerland, next week even if the government has been partially shut down.

Senior administration officials told reporters in a background briefing call that the president is permitted to continue to exercise his constitutional duties during a funding lapse. That includes carrying out diplomacy.

The officials declined to comment on whether the president would be able to travel to Florida this weekend to spend time at his Mar-a-Lago club.

Trump is planning to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting next week in Switzerland. He plans to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, among others.

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7:20 p.m.

The Senate has scheduled a showdown vote for 10 p.m. EST on preventing a federal government shutdown. Democrats are ready to block the Republican measure.

Unless Congress approves some legislation providing money, government agencies will begin shutting down at midnight.

The initial impact on most people will be slight, but the closure will raise the stakes in a partisan fight over immigration and the budget.

The House approved a bill Thursday keeping agencies open through Feb. 16.

Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, most Democrats are opposing the measure.

Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but need 60 votes to prevail. More than enough Democrats appear ready to vote "no."

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5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is striking an optimistic tone as the deadline for a federal government shutdown nears.

Trump tweeted Friday afternoon, less than seven hours before the midnight deadline, that he had "an excellent preliminary meeting" in the Oval Office with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

He is also praising the role being played by fellow Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Trump says negotiators are "making progress" and says a four-week spending extension "would be best." That's what the House passed Thursday.

Schumer told reporters after the White House meeting that progress had been made but a deal had not yet been reached.

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2:45 p.m.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says he and President Donald Trump "made some progress" at a White House meeting, "but we still have a good number of disagreements."

The New York Democrat said "discussions will continue."

Trump asked Schumer to the White House for a meeting that lasted more than an hour.

The Oval Office session came with hours to go before a partial government shutdown at midnight.

Schumer'ss pressing for protections for younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but the White House and Republicans say talks on that issue should be kept separate from legislation to prevent a shutdown.

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2:30 p.m.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has left the White House after a lengthy meeting with President Donald Trump.

Trump invited the Senate's top Democrat to try to reach a deal to avert a government shutdown.

Schumer did not address reporters as he left the building.

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12:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump has invited Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to the White House to try to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

That's according to a person familiar with Trump's outreach who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Schumer is expected to meet with Trump shortly.

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12:20 p.m.

The House has voted to remain in session — for now at least — while a Senate vote to avert a government shutdown looms.

Republican leaders planned to adjourn Friday after approving a four-week spending bill Thursday night that would avert a government shutdown. They changed course Friday after Democrats forced a formal vote on adjournment. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers have not completed their work and should not leave Washington.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans want to go to Davos, Switzerland "hobnobbing with their elitist friends instead of honoring their responsibilities to the American people."

A GOP aide said McCarthy won't attend the World Economic Forum in Davos if the government shuts down.

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12 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Democrats will get the blame for a partial government shutdown that looks increasingly likely.

The Kentucky Republican says Senate Democrats will "own" the shutdown because they oppose a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for a month.

McConnell says he looks forward to a vote soon, though Democrats and a handful of Republicans are expected to filibuster the measure.

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11:45 a.m.

The Trump administration is minimizing the looming budget crisis that could produce a government shutdown, saying former President Barack Obama "weaponized" hardcore negotiating tactics.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that any such shuttering of the government would "look very different" from the 16-day government closure in 2013 under Obama. He said the previous administration "weaponized" the government shutdown in budget negotiations and did not encourage agencies to lessen the impact with unobligated funds.

He says, "they chose to make it worse."

Mulvaney and Marc Short, the White House legislative director, spoke as the Republican-controlled Congress battled through budget negotiations in the shadow of a midnight deadline. If no resolution is reached, the government would shut down most operations.

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11:40 a.m.

As a government shutdown loomed, the White House said Friday that President Donald Trump would not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a spending bill passes.

Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Palm Beach estate.

Vice President Mike Pence still plans to travel to the Middle East on Friday night despite the potential for a shutdown of the federal government.

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10:25 a.m.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is putting the chances of a government shutdown at "between 50 and 60 percent."

Mulvaney spoke to reporters at the White House Friday as the prospect of a shutdown loomed. He said he was "handicapping it" between 50 and 60 percent. But, he added, "we're planning for it as though it's 100 percent."

After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there's a deal to protect certain young immigrants.

Asked about a Plan B, Mulvaney noted talks over a shorter term deal, but said the House may be leaving which could create a funding lapse.

Still, he said that he's open to that. He says: "we'd like to keep the government open."

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8:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump will not leave for a weekend at his Palm Beach estate unless a government shutdown is averted.

The White House said Friday that Trump will not head to Florida unless a funding bill passes.

Trump was set to leave Friday afternoon and planned to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump tweeted Friday morning about the Friday night shutdown deadline, suggesting Democrats would be to blame.

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7:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Senate Democrats are focused on "illegal immigration and weak borders" as a government shutdown looms.

Trump says on Twitter Friday: "Government Funding Bill past (sic) last night in the House of Representatives. Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders."

He adds: "Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!"

A divided Congress stared down a government shutdown Friday as Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on immigration.

After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there's a deal to protect around 700,000 immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.

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1:08 a.m.

A bitterly-divided Congress is hurtling toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that passed the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.

Republicans controlling the narrowly-divided chamber took up the fight, arguing that Democrats were holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect "Dreamer" immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

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