The Republican-controlled Senate is the last hope to avert a US government shutdown which could cripple federal services. Members of Congress are working to avoid the midnight deadline whilst President Donald Trump has called off a planned trip to Florida until a deal can be struck.
Last night, the House of Representatives already voted 230-197 to extend funding for another month.
However, the upper chamber sees Republicans and Democrats split on the issue of immigration and any vote can be risky at this point.
Republicans have 51 seats whilst the Democrats hold 49. In order for the budget to pass, the bill needs 60 votes, meaning that if all Republicans are on board, they still need 9 Democrat votes.
The Democrats appear ready to block the vote, hoping that the White House would thus have to offer concessions beforehand or face the prospect of a looming government crisis.
Mr Patrick J. Leahy, the Democrat Senator of Vermont stated: “Republicans control the House, they control the Senate and they control the presidency.”
“The government stays open if they want it to stay open, and it shuts down if they want it to shut down. It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road and time to start negotiating in good faith.”
Meanwhile the top Republican Senator, Mr Mitch McConnell states Democrats are trying to "hold the entire country hostage."
President Trump, who is being constantly updated about the latest developments, congratulated Paul Ryan’s House of Representatives for passing the bill but stated at the same time that ‘Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming?’
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Government Funding Bill past 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. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/954323750949982208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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