Both sides play blame game on first day of shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch 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 MeadowsLawmakers request documents on DC councilman ethics investigation House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (R-N.C.) and founding member Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWill Democrats be up to the task of publicly interviewing Mueller? 10 questions for Robert Mueller DOJ, Commerce slam House Dems contempt vote as 'political stunt' 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) GaetzThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' Matt Gaetz hints prosecutor won't press charges against threatening caller for political reasons MORE (R-Fla.) are also attending. 

On the Senate side, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP wants commitment that Trump will sign budget deal Schumer warns Mulvaney against drawing hard lines on budget deal MORE (R-Ala.), who is deep in the negotiations, as well as Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony This week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin MORE (R-Utah) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Democrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' 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 SchumerTrump says he will meet with Schumer 'ASAP' after border visit Dem senator describes 'overcrowded quarters,' 'harsh odor' at border facilities Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties 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 RyanJuan Williams: Trump fans the flames of white grievance Ex-White House spokesman Raj Shah joins Fox Corporation as senior vice president Trump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report 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 LeahyAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff 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: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill The House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border 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.