Though there is enough hand-wringing, blame (see #ShumerShutdown, #SchumerShutdown, #TrumpShutdown) and hypocrisy to go around, the fact is that the federal government shuttered after midnight on Friday. Now members of Congress are scheduled to meet Saturday to strike a deal.
The Washington Post reports that the House was expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. and the Senate at noon. Meanwhile, House Republicans and Democrats planned for separate caucus meetings at 10 a.m. Saturday to kick off private talks.
However, although Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Friday that the conflict has a “really good chance” of being resolved before government offices open Monday, the White House is apparently playing hardball, saying that it would not negotiate over immigration, calling those who opposed the president “obstructionist losers.”
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”
Democrats, meanwhile, said that they will not be moved, especially as it comes to DACA (referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) concessions. The Post reports that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said that he had secured an agreement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring a bipartisan bill up for a vote that addresses the status of those affected by the program. However, it remains to be seen if Republicans will act without the support of the White House—a White House that, on Friday, invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to a “cheeseburger lunch” for a private talk. That talk, apparently, yielded no deal.
Interestingly, the vote did not neatly fall under party lines. The Post reports:
For a few Democratic senators, a vote to spark a shutdown was too tough to swallow — even for Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who faced his first major political dilemma since winning a December special election in a campaign that emphasized his support for CHIP. He joined Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), all of whom face tough paths to reelection in states that supported Trump in 2016 and voted to keep the government open.
But Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, meanwhile, announced they would both vote against the measure, bolstering the margin opposed to the bill. Five Republicans also voted no: McConnell and Sens. Flake, Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). Under Senate rules, McConnell as majority leader had to switch his vote from yes to no to be allowed to bring up the spending bill again and try forcing its passage.
A government shutdown has never occurred under one-party control of the White House and Congress, but here we are. The last government shutdown, which was four years ago, lasted weeks.
NBC 4 Washington has compiled a list of governmental agencies affected.
Meanwhile, the president is bitching that the shutdown will affect his “party” at his at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.—a pricey fundraiser to mark his first anniversary in office.