Defeated Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri noted it’s her second “last day” in the Senate and she feels like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” She flew back from St. Louis but said she doesn’t plan to stick around if there’s an extended shutdown.
“I’m going to leave at some point whether they’re done or not,” she said. “If they’re going to shut down the government, I’ll leave it to them to figure out how to find the 60 votes to get it open.”
At issue is whether the House-passed bill with extra border wall money could pass the Senate, where at least nine Democrats would have to join with all Republicans to get the 60 votes it would need, something that is highly unlikely even in the season of miracles.
One Democratic senator threw up his hands and shrugged.
“I have no freaking clue,” said the senator, who asked not to be identified, about what might happen next, summing up the collective view from the Senate about the unexpected end-of-session standoff.
Others who don’t know what lies ahead are the Secret Service personnel at the White House, who had to delicately deal with senators and their staffs, who they didn’t expect to show up at their checkpoints.
They are employees of the Department of Homeland Security, the agency at the center of the battle over the border wall money. If the department closes, they are considered “essential” and would have to work without pay until the issue is resolved.
CNN’s Kristin Wilson, Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Liz Turrell, Ryan Nobles, Liz Landers and Alex Rogers contributed to this report.