UPDATE: The Senate voted 71-28 to reopen the government by passing its budget deal early Friday morning. The House is expected to take up the bill sometime in the next few hours.
WASHINGTON ― The federal government ran out of money for the second time in a month early Friday morning, as lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement to prevent another lapse in funding.
The White House began advising parts of the government to prepare for another shutdown late Thursday night, but there were still questions on whether the government would technically close, as Congress still had the ability to prevent the furlough of government workers if the House and Senate could pass a bipartisan bill overnight.
That prospect seemed to be thinning, however.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continued his objection over the Senate moving up a vote on spending caps Friday, until lawmakers voted to end debate on the agreement.
After senators close debate, Paul could take an additional hour to speak against the agreement — as could other senators — before the Senate votes on final passage, meaning a final vote in that chamber could take place closer to 3 a.m.
Update: At 1:45 a.m., the Senate voted, 71-28, to pass a bipartisan bill to fund the government. The bill now must go through the House, where its chance of passage is much less certain.
Once the bill passes the Senate, a House clerk would have to prepare the bill ― which could also take hours ― and then lawmakers would have to move the legislation out of the Rules Committee, have House lawmakers adopt a rule governing debate for the bill and then get that last passage vote.
The whole process could take several hours, potentially pushing a vote to midmorning.
The Trump administration could offer guidance suggesting that agencies not furlough workers because a bill is expected shortly, but any hiccup in the timing could send the government into a hard shutdown.
There’s also the matter of the House actually passing the bill.
The vote is currently less than certain, with Democrats signaling limited support and several dozen more conservative Republicans saying they’ll vote against the bill.
GOP leaders note this is a bipartisan deal and therefore argue that Democrats should put up their fair share of votes. But Democratic leaders note the House is under Republican control. They say any failure to pass the bill is on Republicans and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s unwillingness to offer Democrats the same procedural assurances that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave Senate Democrats weeks ago ― that he would bring a bill addressing the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program to the floor with an amendment process that would allow Democrats to have an imprint on the legislation.
Even if the votes fall in line, the timing issues associated with preparing the bill and getting it to President Donald Trump’s desk could still cause a shutdown, and there’s good reason to believe the votes in the House are assured.
Democratic House members have voiced opposition to the deal’s lack of protections for young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. And Democrats leaving a caucus meeting Thursday night generally seemed opposed to passing the bipartisan deal on spending caps until Ryan gave Democrats those assurances on DACA.
Meanwhile, Trump spent Thursday night tweeting about Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).