An intense night of partisan bickering and blame-shifting between Republicans and Democrats in D.C. ended at midnight Friday when the government ground to a halt.
Although the shutdown took effect immediately, most Americans won’t start feeling its effects until Monday — and it may be over by then, as both sides signaled their willingness to continue talks on the Senate floor over the weekend, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
But on Friday night, finger-pointing erupted as the midnight deadline drew close.
Both parties were eager to pin the blame for the inertia on the other side — with the White House preemptively declaring it a #SchumerShutdown on social media.
(L-R) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) walk out of a Democratic Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on Jan. 19, 2018.
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Moments before the clock ran out, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders fired off a statement ripping Democrats as “obstructionist losers, not legislators.”
Immigration negotiations would only reopen “when Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders,” she said.
The House on Thursday had voted to approve the measure — over Democratic opposition — to keep government agencies afloat through Feb. 16.
But Democrats want a package that would only last a few days — hoping to increase pressure on the GOP to cut a deal that will protect nearly 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.
The Senate measure failed to pass Friday night by a 10-vote margin — 50 to 49. Republicans needed 60 votes to get the measure through.
Five Democrats voted in favor of it and five Republicans voted against it.
Sen. Mitch McConnell speaks on the floor after a government shutdown was declared on Jan. 20, 2018.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed the White House’s combative tone in his first remarks after the shutdown became official.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There is absolutely nothing in this bill that Senate Democrats oppose, yet they are shutting down the government,” he said.
“Senate Democrats now say that illegal immigration should take priority over keeping the government open at all,” McConnell added.
President Donald Trump speaks to the March for Life participants from the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
He later said he’ll try to end the shutdown by proposing a new short-term funding bill through Feb. 8, which he said was “a very reasonable time.”
It would also mean a vote after President Trump’s State of the Union address on Jan. 30.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) took the floor after Sen. McConnell — and put responsibility for the legislative mess squarely in the lap of the President.
The Ohio Clock outside the Senate Chamber strikes midnight at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers were unable to pass a continuing resolution in time to avert a government shutdown.
(Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
“This will be called the Trump shutdown. There is no one who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump,” Schumer said.
He repeatedly referenced the failure of the Republican Party to “do its job” and govern responsibly, noting that the GOP controls the White House, the House and the Senate.
Schumer also said he spent much of Friday eating cheeseburgers in meetings with Trump and had even — reluctantly — put funding for Trump’s border wall on the table as a sweetener.
He said he left feeling that “in his heart” he and Trump had a deal — but that the President later caved under pressure.
“It’s almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown. Well, now we’ll have one,” Schumer said in a comment aimed at the President.
There was no immediate response from Trump, who had to scrap plans to jet off to Florida for a weekend celebration and fund-raiser on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.
The closure will only partially curb government operations. Uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers are set to work without pay.
With News Wire Services
Source: Ny Daily News