Lawmakers Point Fingers Over Government Shutdown
Republican and Democratic leaders dug in their heels publicly over who’s to blame for the shutdown and how to pass a spending bill to reopen the government, with no solution yet in sight.
Behind the scenes, some lawmakers continued to discuss a short-term stopgap bill to give more time for talks on immigration legislation sought by Democrats.
President Donald Trump has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “The president will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” she said in a statement.
“Senate Democrats shut down this government and Senate Democrats need to open it back up,” Ryan said in a House floor speech.
McConnell said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “thinks the entire federal government should be shut down until he gets his way on illegal immigration.”
Schumer contended that he offered Trump support for a wall at the Mexican border — a significant change for the Democrats — but said, “Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O.”
“The president can’t make a deal and congressional Republicans won’t,” Schumer said. “As a result, a paralysis has descended on Capitol Hill.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that Democrats are willing to do a shorter term stopgap if a deal is reached on an outline for protecting young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and border security, and if the two parties can agree on continued parity between defense and non-defense discretionary spending.
Trump is staying home from a planned weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for a lavish party celebrating a year since his inauguration. He angrily blasted Democrats on Twitter for the shutdown.
“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted. — Billy House, Arit John, Laura Litvan