Lawmakers are still at an impasse on how to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, which has been shutdown since midnight Tuesday.
“The Democratic chair at the negotiating table is empty,” Coats said. “We are at a Clint Eastwood moment.”
House Republicans have tried to use the funding measure to defund and repeal parts of ObamaCare, but Senate Democrats have said the House needs to pass a “clean” CR without any riders.
President Obama has said he would not negotiate with a “gun” to his head and told the House to pass the CR before he would negotiate anything. Republicans have jumped on that, saying Obama needs to show leadership.
“The president is elected to serve this country, and when the president, in the past, has come up in a stalemate situation he has reached out to the other side when there is a divided government,” Coats said. “[But] the message from the White House over and over and over again is, 'I will not negotiate.'”
Democrats counter that they have already compromised by accepting Republican's spending level of funding the government without replacing some sequestration cuts.
It's unclear where the fight will go from here, with both sides digging in for the first government shutdown since 1996. And in two weeks, lawmakers will also have to negotiate a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, otherwise there will be global economic effects.