McConnell: Democrats holding country 'hostage'
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) blasted Democrats in a floor speech Thursday night over their threats to block a House-passed bill funding the government, saying they are holding the country "hostage" over immigration. 

"We ought to pass this resolution, and we ought to get back to work," he said. 

McConnell spoke for a little more than an hour after the House approved a bill to fund the government. Without new legislation from Congress, the government will shut down at midnight Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats and Republicans are battling in the court of public opinion over who would be to blame for the shutdown. 

McConnell said it would be Democrats, who he charged were shoving aside the military and children by opposing the House bill, which includes a six-year extension of the children's health insurance program. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.) fired back that McConnell is "looking to deflect blame but it just won't work."

"Our leader, our republican leader, has said he will not negotiate until he knows where President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE stands," he said. 

Schumer was referring to McConnell's comments earlier this week that Trump has not yet made clear what proposal he would support on a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

A fight over that program, which protects nearly 700,000 workers from deportation, is at the center of the shutdown battle. Democrats want legislation to replace the Obama-era program that Trump is ending.