Lawmakers to launch bid to end impasse

Joanna Estrada
January 22, 2018

Last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century.

But in contrast to the sharp speeches from the respective party leaders, a few Republican senators sounded somewhat confident notes that they would receive enough support from Democrats to reopen the government on a short-term basis without a simultaneous deal on immigration. Democrats demanded that legislative measures for their protection be included in the spending Bill. The source also said McConnell has made clear the President must be involved in whatever happens on protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Cory Booker, D-N.J., berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as "a threat to this country" after she testified she did not hear Trump say the word in question, but she did hear "tough" language.

There were indications Sunday that Democratic resolve was beginning to waver, with growing worries that a prolonged shutdown could prove to be an electoral headache for the party just as they have grown confident about their prospects in November. Lawmakers said they were taking the proposal to leadership Sunday afternoon. Tammy Duckworth of IL took to the Senate floor to call for a measure in the meantime to assure pay for military personnel and for military families to receive death benefits despite the shutdown. "This is his shutdown", Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said on the CBS "Face the Nation" program.

McConnell has dismissed that option, saying Republicans will welcome the filibuster when they return to being the Senate minority. He said the expired Children's Health Insurance Program and other government programs were of more immediate concern.

"All of these other things are an emergency", McConnell said.

"I can tell you that would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers", he said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week".

"Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with Jell-O, it is next to impossible", Schumer told reporters.

The vice president says President Donald Trump's administration will not reopen negotiations "on illegal immigration" until Congress reopens the government and until soldiers and their families receive "the benefits and wages you've earned".

Schumer said he proposed a plan for DACA - which protects about 800,000 "Dreamers" from deportation, along with funds for a wall on the Mexican border, a Trump campaign pledge, but the president refused to go along. Mr. Schumer said on Twitter. The President picked a number for a wall.

The White House did put out some photos of the President on the phone and showing him surrounded by smiling members of his staff. "And the President's position is clear: we will not negotiate on the status of unlawful immigrants while Sen". "We can not open the government without Senate Democrats" support".

Republicans and Democrats have traded bitter recriminations over who is to blame for the failure to pass a stop-gap funding measure by the Jan 20 deadline, a year to the day since US President Donald Trump took office.

"It's very unpopular, and they're trying to find a way out of it", said Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn of Texas.

Senate Republicans oppose changing the chamber's rules so that legislation to fund the Government and end the current shutdown could pass with a simple majority, a spokesman for Senator McConnell said.

As word of the Schumer meeting spread, the White House hastened to reassure Republican congressional leaders that Trump would not make any major policy concessions, said a person familiar with the conversations but not authorized to be quoted by name.

"Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border", Trump tweeted Sunday, the second day of the shutdown.

"If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51 percent (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget". Senate Republicans, with a slim majority of 51, need Democrats to pass a 60-vote hurdle.

Democrats believe that the fact that the GOP controls the House, the Senate and the White House will prompt voters to blame Trump and his troops.

Members of both parties panned the move as a non-starter.

During his CNN interview, Mulvaney said eliminating the filibuster would be one avenue they back to ending the shutdown.

"There's a bunch of different ways to fix this", Mulvaney said. "We just want it to get fixed".

Republican and Democratic leaders were expected to renew negotiations on Saturday in the hope of restoring government financing before Monday.

Sen. Rand Paul calls for bipartisanship: "I'm kind of a believer in we were all elected, let's vote on issues and let's vote on amendments to issues".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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