MSNBC's 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd and NBC Capitol Hill reporter Kasie Hunt discuss the possibility that Congress will fail to come to an agreement on spending before the Friday night deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Since their conversation aired, Politico has reported that the House Freedom caucus plans to support the spending package. The stop-gap funding bill still faces opposition in the Senate.
Hunt reports that progressive Democrats "want them to do this" government shutdown. "They want to take a public stand against President Trump," she said. "Winning the day are the progressives, who say, 'We don't care. We want you to shut this down.'"
CHUCK TODD: The last thing people heard, Paul Ryan was railing about Senate Democrats, they are going to shut down the government. But it is the House Freedom Caucus that appears to be the difference between the House passing and not passing their own bill. Casey, what is going on?
KASIE HUNT, NBC: And I just spoke briefly with Congressman Mark Meadows, the Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, and he said he just got off the phone with the president on Air Force One trying to convince him and others to get on board. He said they are talking back and forth with the Speaker's office about how to potentially adjust this to let them vote for it.
Because the reality is if the Republicans seek this in the House they can with their own party, unlike in the Senate, could pass this and if the Freedom Caucus is the reason this goes down, that makes them look as though they need to take more of the blame for the shutdown. The president clearly doesn't want that.
But, Chuck, the big problem for this bill is in the Senate. And Chuck Schumer and Democrats appear to have the votes and are broadcasting that pretty openly. They're base -- progressives want them to do this, they want them to take a public stand against President Trump. They are united. There is only a handful of red state Democrats --their party certainly not as strong as it used to be in rural areas-- and instead, winning the day are the progressives, who say, 'We don't care. We want you to shut this down.'
CHUCK TODD: I guess I hear you there. But it seems like the House is a bigger stumbling block right now. Up until about an hour ago, it did look like this was going to be a bigger issue for the Senate, but what is Meadows going to extract and what could he get that will somehow make it easier for the Senate to pass?
KASIE HUNT: Well I don't think there is anything that he could get that would make it easier for the Senate to pass. I think the problem here -- and this is part of why I understand why you are focused on the House and the fact that we could stop having the conversation about the Senate if it goes down tonight, the Speaker has been pretty confident about it so far. They have been broadcasting that in a way that -- that has been remarkable and is unusual.
CHUCK TODD: But as you and I both know, how often is House leadership and confident and seeing the Freedom Caucus pull the rug out from under them. A lot.
KASIE HUNT: That is true -- it hasn't happened at much with Speaker Ryan, and typically when --
CHUCK TODD: Touche.
KASIE HUNT: -- and a lot of this messaging today was aimed at defense hawks and people concerned about that. There are some rank and file people who vote for the Speaker, who are just really up in arms about the continuing C.R. It is a separate issue than what we've been talking about with the DREAMers and other things along those lines.
So you are right, things could go sideways on the House floor. But I think that the president and the Speaker are counting on the president's influence with Mr. Meadows and others who support him to try and get this through the House. So, in some ways, actually, now that I'm sort of talking through this with you, kind of live, the one thing that has been raised is potentially doing a three or a five-day C.R. to try to give them more time to do these negotiations. If were it to fail in the House, perhaps that means they would try Plan B and try to avoid a government shutdown, I think that would pass in the Senate but we're clearly in extrapolation territory.