Democratic, Republican leaders already trading blame as shutdown looms

Senate Democrats stated Thursday that they had sufficient votes to stiffle a GOP short-term budget deal - increasing the probability of a government shutdown as Friday's midnight deadline loomed.

Lawmakers had a similar deadline last month, but they passed a continuing resolution December 21 to keep the federal government funded for another month. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

The House of Representatives voted 230-197 on Thursday night for a bill to extend expiring funding through February 16.

The House voted Thursday night to avert a government shutdown, sending the bill on to the Senate, where its future is much less certain. "That is a very basic and fundamental duty".

Republicans have added to the bill a sweetener in the form of a six-year extension to a health insurance programme for children in lower-income families.

Democrats are refusing to support this fourth stopgap measure mostly to force a resolution for DREAMers, or young immigrants brought to the USA illegally when they were children.

The plans serve in part as a threat to Democrats, who have grown increasingly willing to keep McConnell from the 60 votes he would need to pass a short-term funding bill and avoid a shutdown.

Trump tweeted that Senate Democrats "want illegal immigration and weak borders".

Van Hollen also said Trump, not the Democrats, will shoulder the blame if a shutdown occurs.

A growing number of lawmakers said they opposed the deal - not over immigration, but because they are exhausted of passing stopgap measures - and demanded that negotiations continue on a longer-term spending bill.

"Okay, here we are, senator", Burnett said to Markey. "Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two year budget caps deal".

The Lincoln Memorial during the 2013 government shutdown.

"The leader is looking to deflect blame, but it just won't work", said Schumer.

"We have to close this escape hatch and stop voting for CRs and tell leadership they have to make their deals and then we will get it done", King said.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, leaving a meeting with other deputy leaders, rejected the idea that an immigration deal could be concluded by Friday at midnight.

Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, told reporters Wednesday he didn't believe GOP leaders had the votes to pass it because of the internal divisions.

Republican leaders could send the House of Representatives members home as the government remains on a path to shutdown, The Washington Post reported.

The shutdown would also affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, meaning if you wanted a gun permit, you'll have to wait until the shutdown is over.

The most recent shutdowns - in 1995, 1996 and 2013 - saw about 800,000 workers furloughed per day. Republicans are already preparing political attacks on Democrats who vote no, party aides said. "Now will Senator Schumer and the Senate Democrats do the right thing by the American people, or will they force a government shutdown?"

Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a stopgap measure that would fund the United States government for four weeks, known as a "continuing resolution", or CR. "I think we're making progress on DACA, but I think it's unrealistic to think there's going to be a solution in the next five days", Short said. In years past, Democrats have warned against a shutdown.

Participants at the meeting with Kelly quoted the retired general and former head of the Department of Homeland Security as saying Trump was not "fully informed" when he made the wall promise.

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump caused confusion over the bill when he tweeted that the CHIP extension should not be included in a short-term measure, throwing the whole effort into doubt.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, it would be the fourth temporary funding patch since September.

While Republicans like Ryan suggested that the president was endorsing the GOP's approach, others found the tweets inexplicable and unhelpful ahead of a possible election-year shutdown.

"We don't have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with", said Senator Lindsey Graham, of SC, according to the Washington Post. "This has turned into an s-show for no good reason". Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. "[Republicans] point at each other and nothing gets done".

  • Jacqueline Ellis