No deal in sight as shutdown extends to second day
Republicans and Democrats are casting blame on one another for a government shutdown that entered its second day on Sunday and shows no sign of ending.
With hundreds of thousands of federal workers expected to begin furloughs on Monday, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said a shutdown that began on the anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration — and against a backdrop of women’s marches criticizing his leadership — could last more than a week.
“I think Democrats want to see the president give the State of the Union under a shutdown,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” That address is scheduled for Jan. 30.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) exchanged barbs on the floor, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held a press conference surrounded by other women from the House to press back at GOP charges that Democrats are hurting the military.
Both sides are at risk from the shutdown, which began after Senate Democrats and some Republicans in the upper chamber blocked a House bill that passed along largely party lines to keep the government open for another month.
Republicans say Democrats forced the shutdown and are ripping them for closing the government and keeping pay from the military, among other things. Democrats are labeling it Trump’s shutdown, arguing the president has failed to show leadership. Schumer compared talks with Trump to negotiating with “Jell-O.”
The main battle concerns immigration, and specifically what to do with nearly 700,000 “Dreamers,” immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children.
While some lawmakers are pressing for a deal, there was more evidence on Sunday of positions hardening.
Trump suggested that Senate Republicans use the “nuclear option” to pass a funding bill on a party-line vote and break a filibuster, a method rejected by McConnell. The White House also recorded a message for incoming public calls that blames the shutdown on Democrats. And a press release from Trump’s political operation on Saturday said Democrats would be “complicit” in any killings by immigrants in the country illegally.
McConnell has teed up a vote on a measure that would keep the government open through Feb. 8. That vote is now expected at 1 a.m. Monday, and it does not appear it would be able to get the 60 votes necessary to advance at this point. It is possible lawmakers could agree to move up the timing of the vote, though that is also uncertain.
Sunday morning’s talk shows were stacked with guests from both parties accusing each other of forcing the closure.
“They shut it down over an unrelated immigration issue with a deadline weeks away,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“And what’s so baffling about this was we were negotiating in good faith on DACA all the same,” he added, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That Obama-era program, which allowed certain “Dreamers” to work or go to school in the United States, is being unwound by Trump.
“We actually want to solve this problem. So it’s not as if we were saying, ‘No way, no how. No discussions.’ They blew up the negotiations that were already underway,” Ryan said.
Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, said Trump wants to see lawmakers reach a deal to protect the DACA recipients, and blamed Democrats for wanting to expand the deal.
“I think you’ve seen the White House show an openness to expand that population, while Democrats have said there are other people who should be part of the DACA population because they were either afraid or didn’t apply to the program,” Short told ABC’s “This Week.”
“We’ve shown a willingness to consider that. So we feel like we’re making progress on multiple areas.”
At the same time, the Trump administration has said it will not negotiate on the subject of “illegal immigration” while the shutdown continues, which suggests it will not agree to changes on the DACA program while the government is closed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted to block the House bill to keep the government open, said the blame game is “ridiculous” on the part of both parties.
“I think the blame game is ridiculous on both sides. Republicans and Democrats and everybody trying to say ‘oh you don’t want to fund the military,’ ” Paul told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“Everybody wants to fund the military. Nobody wants our soldiers not to be paid. But when both sides do it, I think the American people see through it.”
Paul suggested Republicans vow to hold one week of immigration debate in both chambers within the next month to solve the current stalemate.
But Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said his party will only support a funding extension through Jan. 30, the date of the State of the Union, to avoid the continuous use of stopgap measures, known as continuing resolutions, to keep the government funded.
“There are people, even five Republicans, who voted against the cloture on the continuing resolution because they’re sick as well of these continuing resolutions,” Durbin told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“So you say, ‘Why don’t we wait another three weeks, another four weeks?’ It has to come to end, and it will, if and when the president shows the leadership that we expect of him as president.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said it would be a “stain” the nation could never recover from should the U.S. deport DACA recipients.
“If we allow Trump to get away with what he did, and that is repeal the executive order on DACA, and if these 800,000 people, young people, are subjected to deportation, this will be one of the ugliest stains in the history of the United States,” Sanders told CNN.