President Donald Trump invited Senate Minority Chuck Schumer to the White House on Friday so the two men could discuss how to avoid what one administration official has dubbed the “Schumer Shutdown.”
Washington Examiner reporter Laura Barron-Lopez tweeted that the meeting was set to involve just the president and the minority leader, with no one else in the room.
Senate Democrats are so far refusing to get behind a federal spending bill that would temporarily keep the federal government running, thus risking a shutdown. Liberals in Congress want the GOP to add provisions to protect illegal immigrants in order to win their approval. Congress has until just before midnight on Friday to reach an agreement.
But according to Schumer, it’s Republicans who are refusing to negotiate on a deal.
“They’re in charge,” the New York Republican said Friday as he walked into his Capitol Hill office, according to the New York Daily News. “They’re not talking to us. They’re totally paralyzed and inept. There’s no one to negotiate with.”
The White House, on the other hand, has accused Democrats of using the potential of a shutdown for political gain.
“The reality is, this is not about policy. It’s about politics,” said Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs. “What is unclear is what is it the Democrats are asking in order to get out of a shutdown? It’s seems they are just hell-bent on getting to a shutdown.”
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, meanwhile, said his department is getting ready for the “Schumer shutdown.”
“OMB is preparing for what we’re calling a Schumer shutdown, it still surprises me and I’ve been through some of these before, that the Democrats in the Senate are opposing a bill that they don’t oppose,” he said.
The House of Representatives, where Republicans control a stronger majority, was able to pass a spending bill Thursday evening by a vote of 230-197. However, in the Senate — where such a measure requires 60 votes and the GOP holds a razor thin 51-49 majority — the chances of passage appear slim.
In a goodwill gesture to Democrats, Republicans included in their House bill a six-year re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The program was something Democrats had heavily lobbied for in previous negotiations.
CHIP renewal, however, was not good enough for Schumer and other Democrats.
At the heart of the funding debate is protection for Dreamers, young illegal immigrants who came to the country as children and have lived in the U.S. for years.
Trump discontinued the executive order that protects these immigrants, but he and congressional Republicans have expressed interest in passing a legislative fix for the program.
The current spending bill does not address DACA, and Democrats are demanding that it does.
Trump has lambasted Democrats, tweeting out that protection for illegal aliens and weak borders are a higher priority to Democrats than funding for America’s military.
“Government Funding Bill past last night in the House of Representatives. Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
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