As day six of the partial government shutdown is nearing its end, both houses of Congress have made plans to meet in Washington on Monday, putting off any action to reopen the government until New Year’s Eve at the earliest. Negotiations on a funding bill between the House and Senate have showed no signs of progression since federal funding ran out on December 21 at midnight.
Although President Donald Trump insisted earlier this month that he would take ownership of the government shutdown over the money to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall, he quickly aimed his animus towards the opposition party in the hours after no deal was to be had. For days, he has been admonishing Democrats in the media – from his desk in the Oval Office and on his smartphone – as over 800,000 federal employees have been affected.
President Trump, who was busy on social media today, took to Twitter to again blame Democrats for the shutdown.
“‘Border Patrol Agents want the Wall.’ Democrat’s say they don’t want the Wall (even though they know it is really needed), and they don’t want ICE. They don’t have much to campaign on, do they? An Open Southern Border and the large scale crime that comes with such stupidity!”
CNN reports that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Democrats on Thursday, saying in a statement that the liberal party had “decided to go home” over the Christmas holiday rather than stay in Washington to negotiate. President Trump abandoned Christmas plans with his family at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, remaining in the White House to take questions from reporters and to hopefully engage in negotiations – apart from his and First Lady Melania Trump’s secret trip to Iraq for the commander in chief to visit American troops on Christmas.
Regardless, House Republicans passed their own bill last week that includes $5.7 billion in border wall funding, but the Senate has yet to deliberate the measure, adjourning just hours before the shutdown began last Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said last week before the shutdown that even the simple majority needed to pass the funding package via the 51-member “nuclear option” was not there. Some GOP senators, including Jeff Flake (R-AZ), reportedly sent letters to the office of the majority leader claiming they would not vote to pass a measure that included funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) has relayed to the White House that her caucus, which is set to take the majority on January 3, has offered Republicans “three options” to reopen the government that include money for border security, but does not include funding for “the President’s immoral, ineffective, and expensive wall.”
When the Republican majority in Congress reconvenes on Monday, December 31, they will have less than three days to pass a funding package before Democrats take over the reigns as the party in power in the House until at least January 2021. Although the blame game is being played with which party caused the shutdown, since House Democrats plan on bringing legislation forth on the opening day of the 116th Congress, President Trump must know that the shutdown could backfire on both him and the Republican Party in the opening act of the 2020 General Election season.