Sat | May 25, 2019

Dems, GOP trade pre-shutdown blame

Published:Saturday | January 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM


A bitterly divided Washington hurtled towards a government shutdown yesterday in a partisan staredown over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House traded blame for the increasingly likely shutdown with just hours remaining before the midnight deadline. President Donald Trump phoned Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York to invite him to the White House yesterday afternoon to try to reach some sort of accord.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening. That could expose them to charges that they are responsible for a shutdown, but they point the finger at Republicans instead.

"They're in charge," Schumer said yesterday as he entered his Capitol office. "They're not talking to us. They're totally paralysed and inept. There's no one to negotiate with."

Republicans controlling the narrowly split chamber argue that it's the Democrats who are holding the government hostage over demands to protect 'dreamer' immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally.

And the White House piled on, trying to paint the impending action as the 'Schumer shutdown'. Still, officials said the president has been working the phones trying to avert one.