Senate faces high-stakes budget talks with government shutdown looming

Congress is staring down a potential government shutdown beginning Friday night if it does not pass a temporary government funding bill, as Senate Republicans push for amendment votes that could complicate the formula for passage. 

Those amendments include a potential balanced budget amendment backed by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that aims to defund all federal vaccine mandates.
There are also reports from Politico and other outlets that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wants to force an amendment vote on a bill he introduced with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., this week, to bar federal funding from giving away crack pipes. 

"Enough is enough. It’s time to stop the petty tyrants imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates on families across the country. No child should be denied an education because of his or her personal medical choice," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said of his amendment to bar federal funding from going to schools that mandate coronavirus vaccines for children. 

Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing an amendment to block federal funding for schools that mandate COVID-19 vaccines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/File) (Associated Press)

Braun's office says there could be some Democrat defectors for his amendment – which would be a statute, not a constitutional amendment. It's functionally similar to a Democrat-sponsored balanced budget amendment the Senate voted on in 2011 and to one proposed by Manchin in 2013.