While it took a good deal of conning by White House staff, Individual 1 was eventually dissuaded from having his government shutdown, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got to work on getting a continuing resolution done so that everyone could leave town. But not quickly. No not at all. Finally, after hours of backroom deal-making, the Senate got it done with a voice vote. It does still have to be passed by the House, and just in case McConnell is keeping the Senate in on Thursday, just in case.
Democratic Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, although not thrilled, agreed. The House maniacs in the Freedom Caucus continue to have their requisite fit, but there's not likely to be enough of them to matter in the lame duck. So Trump is (most likely) dealt with. The maniacs are (most likely) dealt with. Enter the Senate, which is allergic to taking quick action on anything.
Seeing the last legislative train leaving the station Wednesday was just too much for too many senators. So they spent all day fighting over 120 bills on public lands management packaged up and jammed in. "The idea is to get the whole lands' package done. (Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa) Murkowski has put together a number of bills that are very important to the West," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). Others want to make sure it included a number of lapsed reauthorizations, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It already contains extensions until February 8 for the "Violence Against Women Act, the National Flood Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and authority for the EPA to collect pesticide registration fees."
Other provisions in the already-agreed upon CR include:
- A Department of Homeland Security program designed to protect chemical facilities from terrorist attacks.
- Two lapsed Department of Health and Human Services authorities designed to combat pandemics and potential biological attacks.
- The E-Verify program, which employers use to check the immigration status of prospective workers, and visa programs for foreign investors, seasonal workers, medical school graduates and religious workers.
- A program known as “Money Follows the Person,” which helps people who receive Medicaid to live in the community rather than an institution.
- A program that helps to ensure people whose spouse is covered by Medicaid for long-term care is still able to keep some of his or her income.
There's still the possibility that between now and when this gets to Trump's desk, he changes his mind. That's certainly what the Freedom Caucus maniacs are clamoring for, warning if Trump signs the bill there will be "major damage" to his re-election in 2020 with the base. But that's coming from Rep. Mark Meadows, who pre-emptively rejected an offer to be Trump's chief of staff, so Trump probably won't listen to him anyway. Besides, he's gotta get to Mar-a-Lago Friday.