Archive for Friday, January 19, 2018

Federal government shuts down; Dems, GOP blame each other

January 19, 2018, 10:16 p.m. Updated January 19, 2018, 11:31 p.m.


— The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction.

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. The slide toward closure lacked for high drama: The Senate vote was all but predetermined, and since the shutdown began at the start of a weekend, many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.

Still, it comes with no shortage of embarrassment for the president and political risk for both parties, as they wager that voters will punish the other at the ballot box in November.

Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 48 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossing the aisle to support the measure, rather than take the politically-risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.

In an unusual move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the roll call to exceed 90 minutes — instead of the usual 20 or so — seemingly accommodating the numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers. Still as midnight passed and the calendar turned, there was no obvious off-ramp to the political stalemate. Each party expressed resolve in its position — and confidence that the other would suffer the wrath of voters.

Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting, "Not looking good" and blaming the Democrats who he said actually wanted the shutdown "to help diminish the success" of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month.

Democrats balked on the measure in an effort to pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect "dreamer" immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.

The president watched the results from the White House residence, dialing up allies and affirming his belief that Democrats would take the blame for the shutdown, said a person familiar with his conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Predictably, both parties moved swiftly to blame one another. Democrats laid fault with Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House and have struggled with building internal consensus. Republicans declared Democrats responsible, after they declined to provide the votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate over their desire to force the passage of legislation to protect some 700,000 younger immigrants from deportation.

Republicans branded the confrontation a "Schumer shutdown" and argued that Democrats were harming fellow Americans to protect "illegal immigrants."

Trump had brought Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to the White House Friday afternoon in hopes of cutting a deal. But the two New Yorkers, who pride themselves on their negotiating abilities, emerged without an agreement, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress continued to pass off responsibility.

"We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements," Schumer said upon returning to Capitol Hill. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN that "Not much has changed" over the course of the day, but he predicted a deal would be reached by Monday, when most government offices are to reopen after the weekend.

Democrats in the Senate had served notice they would filibuster the government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening. They were seeking an even shorter extension that they think would keep the pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect the "dreamer" immigrants.

Trump first described his discussion with Schumer as an "excellent preliminary meeting," tweeting that lawmakers were "making progress - four week extension would be best!" But that optimism faded as the evening wore on.

Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said Trump told Schumer to work things out with McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. McConnell did not attend the meeting because he was not invited, a Senate GOP aide said.

Trump had been an unreliable negotiator in the weeks leading up to the showdown. Earlier this week he tweeted opposition to the four-week plan, forcing the White House to later affirm his support. He expressed openness to extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, only to reject a bipartisan proposal. His disparaging remarks about African and Haitian immigrants last week helped derail further negotiations.

Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to attend a fundraiser at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate marking the one-year anniversary of his inauguration but delayed his travel.

"I think the president's been very clear: he's not leaving until this is finished," Mulvaney told reporters.

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.

On Capitol Hill, McConnell said Americans at home would be watching to see "which senators make the patriotic decision" and which "vote to shove aside veterans, military families and vulnerable children to hold the entire country hostage... until we pass an immigration bill."

Across the Capitol, the House backed away from a plan to adjourn for a one-week recess, meaning the GOP-controlled chamber could wait for a last-minute compromise that would require a new vote. But it wasn't coming Friday night.

"We can't keep kicking the can down the road," said Schumer, insisting on more urgency in talks on immigration. "In another month, we'll be right back here, at this moment, with the same web of problems at our feet, in no better position to solve them."

The four-week measure would have been the fourth stopgap spending bill since the current budget year started in October. A pile of unfinished Capitol Hill business has been on hold, first as Republicans ironed out last fall's tax bill and now as Democrats insist on progress on immigration. Talks on a budget deal to ease tight spending limits on both the Pentagon and domestic agencies are on hold, as is progress on a huge $80 billion-plus disaster aid bill.

Before Thursday night's House approval, GOP leaders sweetened the stopgap measure with legislation to extend for six years a popular health care program for children from low-income families and two-year delays in unpopular "Obamacare" taxes on medical devices and generous employer-provided health plans.

A shutdown would be the first since 2013, when tea party Republicans — in a strategy not unlike the one Schumer is employing now — sought to use a must-pass funding bill to try to force then-President Barack Obama to delay implementation of his marquee health care law. At the time, Trump told Fox & Friends that the ultimate blame for a shutdown lies at the top. "I really think the pressure is on the president," he said.

Arguing that Trump's predecessors "weaponized" that shutdown, Mulvaney said Friday the budget office would direct agencies to work to mitigate the impact this time. That position is a striking role-reversal for the conservative former congressman, who was one of the architects of the 2013 shutdown over the Affordable Care Act.

With no agreement by midnight, the government would begin immediately locking its doors. The impact would initially be spotty — since most agencies would be closed until Monday — but each party would be gambling the public would blame the other.

In the event of a shutdown, food inspections, federal law enforcement, airport security checks, and other vital services would continue, as would Social Security, other federal benefit programs and military operations.


Richard Heckler 3 months ago

I celebrate the mostly democrat opposition to the conservative reckless manipulation and mismanagement of the people's government.

Thank you democrats for not caving.

Richard Dick 3 months ago

Thank you democrats for caving... LOL

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months ago

To Richard's post.......AMEN!!!

"Conservative" is simply a moniker for the throwbacks jerks, and other obstructionists in our country. Their attempts to hold the DACA children hostage to their stupid and callous political crap are reprehensible. There should be a constitutional provision to deal with useless so called conservative throwbacks.

Bob Summers 3 months ago

Illegal aliens are more important than residents.

Thank you Liberals!

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months ago

CEOs and Corporations(Campaign Contributors) are more important than the majority of US Citizens. Thank You Conservatives! Great argument for implementing term limits for congress. Will never happen because bribing a congressman is legal under current law. Ask any lobbyist. And, for the record, Bob, I blame all of them for this. All members of Congress and the POTUS are to blame for where we are today! I am one of that 10%!

Bob Summers 3 months ago

Seriously. Thank you liberals.

Government is a parasite. They suck the life out of the working stiff.

If it were not for the petrodollar, America would look like Venezuela's economy.

Kevin Elliott 3 months ago

Republican President, Republican Congress, Republican Senate, but you say THANK YOU LIBERALS. you are hysterical, or would be if everything you post were not racially motivated.

Regardless, you are NOT credible.

I hear a lot of complaint from you about illegal immigrants, but almost nothing about the companies that profit off them except perhaps that they deserve more tax cuts and less liability for breaking the law. I wonder if that can be attributed to your racial motivations?

Gary Stussie 3 months ago

Need 60 votes in Senate Kevin ... REPs have 51

“The White House position remains the same, that we will not negotiate the status of 690,000 unlawful immigrants while hundreds of millions of taxpaying Americans, including hundreds of thousands of our troops in uniform and border agents protecting our country, are held hostage by Senate Democrats,”

Kevin Elliott 3 months ago

When Congress and the Senate do NOT reflect the people, who overwhelmingly support DACA, then you need to blame GOP partisan hacks, not those representatives actually representing their constituents. So, the hostage takers are still the racists, no matter how you try to cherry pick and spin it.

Gary Stussie 3 months ago

Kevin, the House, Senate and President Trump support DACA. They just do not want secure borders and the prospect of President Trump getting another WIN before mid-terms is making them crazy. Please try to stay informed.

Kevin Elliott 3 months ago

I understand you work on partial facts and spin, and it makes you look very unfortunate. However, I stand my ground, racism and elitism is holding us hostage, the Wall is NOT supported, Daca is, the GOP racists are trying to force a bill NOT supported by the people, not the Dems, so you continue to be one step behind, but like the president, you try to pretend different facts are true. Cherry picking facts is, in other words, being a liar. Stick with the truth and you might earn some respect. There are people who believe opposite than I that I have respect for, Dole was a good example, because he was fair AND honest, You should try even one of those

Alana Winner 3 months ago

There are "real live" people who work for the government that will lose pay days and even lose their jobs in the government sector if this is a repeat of when this happened last time. It really is scary when you are hired by a government agency and the person signing off on your paycheck will not be able to come into work and you do not know when you will be able to work next. I don't know what the answer is, but blaming illegal aliens, certainly does not help. There is no one cause for this, it comes from political problems stacking up.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

And it's going to hurt the economy. And money is what Trump is all about. He's son even said so.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months ago

Trump Casinos-Shutdown.Trump Airlines-Shutdown. Trump University-Shutdown.Trump Steaks- Shutdown.Trump Vodka-Shutdown. Trump Mortgage.-Shutdown. Trump Magazine-Shutdown. Trump's 1st Marriage-Shutdown. Trump's 2nd Marriage-Shutdown. Trump's Government-Shutdown. Pretty much says it all. Winning is a Shutdown!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

So Schumer goes in and offers Trump even more for money for the military that Trump wanted, and more money for border security than he wanted, but he didn't want to deal. There was a bipartisan bill for immigration reform. Trump doesn't want to deal, he wants his way only. And even the Republicans are trying to figure out what his way is. First Kelley says that his views on the wall have involved, then Trump says not they haven't. This is not the way to govern.

Gary Stussie 3 months ago

Not true Dorothy!

There is nothing in the funding bill that the DEMs oppose. They simply want 800,000 illegals given a path to the DEM voting booth. Trump is not opposed to that but he intends to get the boarder wall started so we don't get another SURGE of illegals. Schumer knows that if Trump get the boarder wall, the DEMs are toast in the mid-terms.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

Oh boo hoo. These kids grew up here. They don't know anything but this country and want to be citizens. Why are you do hateful. You know there was a guy who was too old to be a dreamer deported the other day. I'm sure you could apply for his landscaping job, if you are desperate for a job.

Gary Stussie 3 months ago

Nothing hateful in that, political reality. I have no problem with the illegals in the DACA program, nor do the REPs in Congress or President Trump ... we just want secure boarders. You previously indicated that you were a woman that has been around for a while, do you not recall the last mass Amnesty. How many times to we have to repeat the cycle? What is so problematic with trading a secure boarder for a path to citizenship for Dreamers?

Paul Beyer 3 months ago

Apparently you are one of the uneducated trump loves. How do you make "boarders" secure? board·er ˈbôrdər/ noun noun: boarder; plural noun: boarders

a person who receives regular meals when staying somewhere, in return for payment or services.
    a student who lives at school during the semester in return for payment.
a person who boards a ship during or after an attack

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

You are seriously uninformed. Schumer was giving him more money for border security and more money for the military. Schumer is bending over backwards, and Trump wants more. But what he really wants is to deport all the Dreamers. His stupid campaign ad (which should be illegal until the elections are held), implied the Dreamers are murderers and rapists and terrorists.

What about you Gary. When you were a kid, did your mother and father ever get a speeding ticket. Did they ever cause a traffic accident? If they did, should we allow that to affect your driving record? Should we make you pay more for insurance, and not allow you to get a job that requires driving? That's exactly what Trump wants to do. He wants to deport the Dreamers. He wants you to think if we did all our problems would be solved. He'll make a big deal out of it too. And you better start carrying around your birth certificate and/or passport when you travel. I here we are going to be asked for our papers when we travel in our own country.

Brock Masters 3 months ago

One Christmas I got this great bicycle as a present. Day later the police knocked on my door, arrested my dad for stealing the bike and took my bike away. By your logic I should have been able to have kept the bike.

Deport the parents and give the DACA recipients a grace period to apply for citizenship before being deported. If granted citizenship they stay, if not they go. This is fair.

Bob Summers 3 months ago

Thank goodness the Liberal ones shut down the collective organization.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

Shut the government down. The fewer Liberals in the collective meddling, the better.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months ago

Donald J. "Shutdown" Trump. Has a nice ring to it don't ya think? Kind of rolls right off the tongue like it was meant to be a full fledged title. History will remember him as such.

Bob Summers 3 months ago

"History will remember him as such".

Congenital Liberal history.


Bob Reinsch 3 months ago

All that matters to Trump is that Putin's happy. He bragged about so much winning, we just didn't know which team he was really playing for.

Bob Smith 3 months ago

And you know that because your Russian handler told you so?

Steve Jacob 3 months ago

I will point out 5 Democratic and 5 Republican Senators voted against their own party, so this is not a total party line vote. I like it, it shows some are not tied to and R or a D next to their name, they think for themselves.

Gary Stussie 3 months ago

"Think for themselves"? Silly boy!

5 DEMs are up for re-election in states that Trump carried big. They had Schmer's approval to vote that way knowing the bill would not pass. All about politics, they don't give a rip about Dreamers ... illegals of all types are just potential pool of dependent voters.

The Office of Budget and Management, which Mulvaney runs, is in charge of managing government shutdowns when they occur.

"OMB is preparing for what we're calling the Schumer Shutdown. It still surprises me, and I've been through some of these before, that Democrats are opposing a bill they don't oppose. They are for clean CRs, they are for the extension of the CHIP program. They don't oppose anything in the bill, but they are opposing the bill," Mulvaney said. "We do not want a shutdown, but if Mr. Schumer wants this, he is in a position to inflict this on the American people."

"We want to make folks understand it (shutdown) would look very different than it did under the previous administration," Mulvaney said. "There's no other way to describe it, the Obama administration weaponized the shutdown of 2013."

Example ... In 2013 President Obama ordered National Park Service police to barricade all of the monuments on the National Mall, keeping World War II veterans (Honor Flights) who traveled from across the country from visiting their memorial.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

And we all know you and the radical Republicans will make sure you bring down the Republicans that voted no. Democrats can agree to disagree, but Republicans want their candidates to sign loyalty oaths, which apparently come before they take the oath to serve the country. Party before country, right Gary?

Gary Stussie 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Come on Dorothy, that is neither true nor fair! Haven't you noticed that every vote in the Senate is 51-49. Schumer does not let any DEM vote for anything based upon "agree to disagree"... DEMs are just involved in a delay tactic so that they can use Dreamers as a mid-term issue.

Kevin Elliott 3 months ago


“Well, very simply, you have to get everybody in a room. You have to be a leader. The president has to lead. He’s got to get [the Speaker of the House] and everybody else in a room, and they have to make a deal. You have to be nice, and be angry, and be wild, and cajole, and do all sorts of things. But you have to get a deal.”

“Unfortunately, [xxxxxx] has never been a dealmaker. That wasn’t his expertise before he went into politics. And it’s obviously not his expertise now. But you have to get the people in the room, and you have to get a deal that’s good for everybody and good for the country.”

/// The last line, GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY is why this current president will go down in history as the most failed President, most corrupt president, most divisive president EVER and the most racist in 100 years.

Bob Smith 3 months ago

" the most failed President, most corrupt president, most divisive president EVER and the most racist in 100 years..." The dog-eating tyrant is in the running for at LEAST 3 of those categories.

Bob Smith 3 months ago

Schumer gave in like the little whiny sing-along-with-Mitch that he is. The government is back in business.

Bob Smith 3 months ago And the sounds of weeping and wailing did ascend into the firmament, and it was most amusing.

Bob Smith 3 months ago

"...Never before in American history has a major political party put the interests of lawbreaking foreign nationals ahead of the interests of law abiding Americans. Yet that is exactly what the Democrats have done in holding the government hostage to extract special favors for illegal immigrants..." Read the rest at The usual disappointed progressives seem to be cowering in their corners the evening and avoiding this thread.

Carol Bowen 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If there is bipartisan support for DACA in both houses, why is DACA being used as a bargaining chip, and why must the responsibility for DACA fall to the Democrats?

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