Dems deserve blame for 'Schumer Shutdown,' GOP leaders say
Republican leaders blamed their Democratic counterparts after the Senate failed to pass a spending bill by midnight Friday to avert a government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP needed 60 votes to pass a measure that would have kept the government running until mid-February, but not enough Democrats went along with the plan. The tally was 50-49, with five Democrats voting in favor of the measure and five Republicans voting against it.
“Most of the stuff we agree on. One reason we ended up here, the shoehorning of illegal immigration into this debate,” McConnell said after the vote failed, adding that the Senate would resume talks later Saturday to prevent a prolonged shutdown.
At the center of the soured negotiations was the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which has protected some young immigrants from deportation.
After the Senate adjourned for the evening, McConnell underscored that the shutdown was “avoidable,” while calling the Democrats’ decision to filibuster “irresponsible.”
On Twitter, McConnell, R-Ky., singled out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., claiming he “doesn’t even have an immigration bill.”
“The facts before us are simple. Right now, the Democratic leader has no compromise immigration bill on the table. No bill exists,” McConnell tweeted. Why do Americans need to suffer from a government shutdown when he doesn’t even have an immigration bill?”
“Right now, the Democratic leader has no compromise immigration bill on the table. No bill exists. Why do Americans need to suffer from a government shutdown when he doesn’t even have an immigration bill?”
On Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had labeled the potential disruption of government services a “Schumer Shutdown,” in a statement Friday, faulting Democrats for behaving like “obstructionist losers” who put “politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.”
Vice President Mike Pence echoed those sentiments in a Tweet late Friday night.
“Rather than solve problems, Democratic leadership preferred a shutdown that has dangerous consequences for our national defense. Their action tonight – or lack thereof – is unconscionable,” Pence said.
Tweeting before the vote, President Donald Trump suggested Democrats wanted a shutdown in an effort to “diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts,” with a pessimistic undertone that doubted a deal could be reached in time.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Democrats’ decision to block a four-week stopgap extension “reckless.”
“Senate Democrats have let down our troops, our children, and all Americans. All of this is just unnecessary. It is reckless. Senate Democrats have brought us to a shutdown,” Ryan said in a statement posted to Twitter.
However, during his closing remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer said no one deserves the blame more than Trump. Schumer claimed that Democrats were willing to compromise with the White House on a U.S.-Mexico border wall in exchange for DACA protection policies.
The spin from both sides was intended to aid the prospects of candidates facing re-election in 2018.
For now, the military, health inspectors and law enforcement were all scheduled to work without pay, while the brunt of the shutdown won’t be felt until Monday as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are set to be furloughed if a deal isn’t reached over the weekend.
The Senate planned to reconvene Saturday afternoon, in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement to prevent of prolonged shutdown. McConnell has filed a procedure to introduce another short-term spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8, but the earliest the Senate could hold a vote would be Monday.
If the Senate bill passes, it would then return to the House for a reconciliation vote.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and the Associated Press contributed to this story.