White House slams Dems as 'obstructionist losers' as Congress misses shutdown deadline

White House slams Dems as 'obstructionist losers' as Congress misses shutdown deadline
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The White House on Friday blamed the government shutdown on Democrats, blasting them as “obstructionist losers, not legislators.”

Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, referring to Democrats.

“This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.” 

Sanders said President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE and his team will not engage in talks with Democrats on immigration until the government is funded.

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“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” she said. “When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders, we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”

The White House issued the defiant statement, which used distinctly Trumpian language, just minutes before the government shutdown at midnight after Congress failed to break a partisan impasse over immigration and spending levels.

In a late Friday night vote, the Senate failed to advance a House Republican bill that would have kept the government open for another four weeks. Lawmakers failed to reach a separate agreement before the midnight deadline. 

That set off a furious messaging battle between Republicans and Democrats over which party deserves the blame for the shutdown.

Trump and his GOP allies excoriated Democrats for using the funding deadline to secure an extension of an Obama-era program that shields hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The program, which Trump scrapped last year, is set to expire in March. Trump rejected a bipartisan plan to save the program earlier this week.

Sanders dubbed the funding lapse the "Schumer Shutdown," a reference to Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (D-N.Y.)

Democrats have rejected the notion they deserve blame for the shutdown, pointing out the GOP controls the White House and both chambers of Congress. 

The shutdown is the first closure of the federal government since 2013 under then-President Obama, but that closure occurred under divided government.

During a negotiating session earlier Friday with Trump, Schumer said he "reluctantly" offered border-wall funding in exchange for protections for young immigrants living illegally in the U.S. But Schumer said Trump declined. 

“The blame should crash entirely crash on President Trump’s shoulders," the Democratic leader said. "This will be called the Trump Shutdown.”

Updated: 12:27 a.m.