A top Senate Republican just threw cold water on the Hail Mary plan to avoid a shutdown

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  • The federal government will enter a partial shutdown at midnight if no funding bill passes the Senate.
  • Senate Democrats and some Republicans have proposed passing a short-term funding bill to extend the deadline by a few days to give the two sides more time to hash out a larger deal.
  • The Senate Republican leadership wants nothing to do with that idea.

As the federal government careens toward a partial shutdown, a last-ditch attempt to placate Democrats appears to be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders and some Republicans openly discussed the possibility for a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would last a few days. Proponents argued it would give negotiators from the two parties time to hash out a broader funding deal than the current GOP-led bill.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the chamber, shut down the idea as a nonstarter Friday.

“It doesn’t solve any problems because we’ll have to do another CR later,” Cornyn told Business Insider. “Because until you get budget caps you can’t do an omnibus. So it’s just all a futility it seems to me.”

The resolution that passed the House on Thursday would extend funding for the government until February 16.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also attacked the idea during a speech on the Senate floor earlier Friday, saying Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is betraying his own demands by asking for an even shorter solution.

“But what is more, the incredibly short-term continuing resolutions he is now proposing do not meet any of the demands – none of them – that he, and his own conference, and Democrats in the House have been making for weeks,” McConnell said. “None of that would be solved in a short-term CR – the stuff they’ve been calling for.”

McConnell said the key issue that Schumer and the Democrats want to resolve in the funding fight – a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program – could not be solved by the end of the day.

While the leadership is stridently opposed to a CR that lasts only a handful of days, some Republicans appeared more receptive to the idea. Sen. Jerry Moran said Thursday that giving negotiators a few more days to work out some sort of deal would be preferable to a shutdown.

“I don’t know whether we’re close to an agreement or far from agreement, but either way this makes sense to keep the government funded and require us to continue negotiations until we reach a conclusion,” Moran said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the Republican senators opposed to the House-passed CR, said he wants a funding bill that lasts more than the four days requested by Schumer but less than the House bill.

“We could easily pass a continuing resolution – which lasts days (certainly more than the four proposed by the Senate Minority Leader) and less than the 30 days passed by the House of Representatives – to close the deal on outstanding issues which remain,” Graham said in a statement on Friday.

If no deal is reached, the federal government will enter a partial shutdown at midnight.