Few Signs Of Progress As Partial Government Shutdown Enters Second Day

January 21, 2018
Capitol Hill is seen against a blue sky Saturday, the first day of the partial government shutdown.

Capitol Hill is seen against a blue sky Saturday, the first day of the partial government shutdown.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

As the federal government's partial shutdown enters its second day, there are few discernible signs that lawmakers are on track to speedily resolve their standoff.

Instead, the two sides spent Saturday digging in and getting their message out. Republicans reiterated that they will not negotiate on immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while the government is shut down. And Democrats said a spending deal would also have to protect the immigrants who came to the country illegally as children and have been shielded from deportation by the DACA program.

On Capitol Hill, rare Saturday sessions in both chambers were characterized by recriminations rather than negotiations, including a procedural fight in the House over the wording on a sign used as a prop during a floor debate.

There were few signs that either side was feeling conciliatory.

In the midst of the stalemate, President Trump's re-election campaign released an addeclaring that "Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants," a stance that did little to improve the negotiating climate.

Senate Democrats gave no indication that they have softened their requirement that any deal to re-open the government must come with a side agreement on immigration. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused the president of essentially acting in bad faith after the two met one-on-one at the White House on Friday.

"What's even more frustrating than President Trump's intransigence is the way he seems amenable to these compromises before completely switching positions and backing off. Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O," Schumer said Saturday.

Aside from a morning flurry of tweets attacking Democrats' position on immigration, the president mostly used Twitter to celebrate his first year in office. Remaining in D.C. because of the shutdown, Trump had no public appearances or interviews.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled an early Monday morning vote for a short-term funding plan to keep the government open through Feb. 8. Aside from lasting three weeks instead of four, the bill is virtually identical to the measure that failed very early Saturday to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster just as the midnight deadline to avoid a shutdown passed.

In the House, Republicans approved a procedural measure that will allow GOP leaders to speedily bring a new stopgap measure to the floor if a new spending agreement is reached.

With no meaningful votes likely to take place on Sunday, lawmakers will likely make their case to the American public via the Sunday talk shows and social media.

Story source: NPR