Both sides play blame game on first day of shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE and congressional leaders are showing no signs of letting up over a funding stalemate as members of both parties blame the other on the first day of a partial government shutdown.

The ratcheting up of the finger-pointing raises questions about how quickly lawmakers may be able to get an agreement to end the shutdown, which started at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and is impacting roughly 25 percent of the federal government.

Senate leaders traded barbs on the chamber floor shortly after they convened on Saturday around noon, saying the other side was to blame for the funding lapse that started after Congress failed to reach a deal Friday night.


Meanwhile, a senior administration official on Saturday afternoon doubled down on Trump's request for $5 billion in funding for "physical barriers" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We're not going to negotiate over the phone as to what he would accept. That continues to be what this president is pushing for,” the official added when asked if the president would accept $1.6 billion instead.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks MORE (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to accuse Democrats of refusing a "reasonable request" to provide funding for Trump's border wall. The GOP leader said Democrats are facing pressure from their progressive base and he argued they were flip-flopping by rejecting border policies they had previously voted to advance.

"Democrats haven’t rejected the president’s request — and invited this partial government shutdown — because of some principled objection that they just discovered in the last few weeks," McConnell said. "They’ve brought this about because they’re under a lot of pressure — we all know this — from the far left of their party."

McConnell added that the responsibility for coming up with an agreement to reopen the government rested with Trump, whose signature they will need, and Senate Democrats, whose votes they will need to get a bill through the Senate. 

But Trump, who warned earlier Saturday that the shutdown could be a "long stay," surrounded himself at a lunch at the White House largely by lawmakers who have encouraged him to dig in further on his request for $5 billion in border security.

Three members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Sondland testimony looms over impeachment hearings this week Democrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing MORE (R-N.C.) and founding member Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanPress: Ukraine's not the only outrage GOP senator calls impeachment 'sabotage' effort, raises questions about witness on eve of testimony Public impeachment hearings enter second week MORE (R-Ohio), are among those dining with Trump in the White House residence.


Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Freedom Caucus ally Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzBottom Line Gaetz wants woman who threw drink at him to serve time Schiff told Gaetz to 'absent yourself' in fiery exchange: impeachment transcript MORE (R-Fla.) are also attending. 

On the Senate side, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyKey GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks McConnell backs 'clean' stopgap spending bill through Dec. 20 This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings MORE (R-Ala.), who is deep in the negotiations, as well as Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Senators introduce bipartisan bill restricting police use of facial recognition tech MORE (R-Utah) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran MORE (R-S.C.), are attending. 

Graham, in particular, has urged Trump to stand by his demand, saying in a tweet on Friday for the president to "dig in."

"Democrats spend like drunken sailors on everything but border security-wall. More money needed for border security-wall to protect our country from drugs, crime, and terrorism. Hang tough Mr. President!" Graham added in a separate tweet on Saturday. 

House Republicans and Trump are asking for $5 billion for the border, an amount that cannot pass in the Senate. 

Senators are discussing $1.6 billion for border security, though Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary MORE (D-N.Y.) declined to answer questions as he arrived at the Capitol on Saturday afternoon, including if Democrats would accept that amount. 

A Senate Democratic aide said earlier Saturday that negotiations were ongoing at a staff level. Vice President Pence is also expected to come to the Capitol to continue talks, after he met with Schumer and House leadership on Friday. 

Shelby said Pence was at the Capitol to make Schumer an offer but that an agreement today was “probably not probable.”

Schumer blistered Trump during his floor speech, criticizing his "destructive two-week temper tantrum demanding the American taxpayer pony up for an expensive and ineffective border wall." 

He added that McConnell and outgoing House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSaagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween MORE (R-Wis.) "cannot duck responsibility" and "are essential to this process." Schumer added that after Trump reversed course on supporting the Senate's initial seven-week bill, Trump has to publicly endorse a final deal before it gets a vote in the Senate. 

"We don't want to go through what we went through a few days ago. Both Leader McConnell and I have agreed that qualification for a specific reason. Repeatedly the president has privately agreed to a deal with congressional leaders only to reverse himself when criticized by the far-right," Schumer added. 

And Democrats are reminding the public, at every turn, that the GOP controls the White House and both chambers of Congress. If a shutdown is anyone’s fault, they contend, it’s Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill. 

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (D-Vt.), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, added that the "president is holding the federal government hostage for $5 billion of American taxpayer dollars for his unnecessary, ineffective and expensive wall on the southern border."

"A wall, eventually, he repeatedly promised, gave his word to the American taxpayers that Mexico would pay for it," Leahy said.

Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms The Hill's 12:30 Report: Former Ukraine envoy offers dramatic testimony MORE (Md.), the Democratic whip, wondered why GOP leaders didn’t just kick the can into next year, when Democrats will control the House — if only for messaging reasons.

“Frankly, if I were them, I’d say, ‘OK, you Democrats, you try to get it done. We’ll give it to you, you pass something — but then you’re responsible,’ ” Hoyer said Friday.

“Now we can say, ‘Republicans control everything. Not us!’ ”

— Mike Lillis contributed

Updated at 3:07 p.m.