President Donald Trump said Sunday that if the federal government shutdown continues, Senate Republicans should invoke the so-called “nuclear option” to pass long-term spending with a simple majority.
“If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no . . . [continuing resoutions]!,” Trump wrote in a Sunday morning tweet, which blamed Democrats.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Sunday noted that the shutdown took place despite Republicans controlling the House, Senate and White House.
“These guys are apparently incapable of governing,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) called the tweet, “an example of the president throwing a tweet in the middle of negotiations that are making progress.”
Senate Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, Friday blocked consideration of a House bill to fund the government for another four weeks because it did not include a fix for an expiring immigration program.
Five Republicans joined the majority of Democrats and succeeded in blocking the vote on the House bill, and five conservative-state Democrats voted with Republicans to move forward. The 50-49 vote fell short of the required 60 votes, however.
The Senate is not expected to reconvene until 1 p.m.
Trump, in his tweet, blamed Democrats for the shutdown.
“Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.”
A campaign ad released by the Trump campaign ramped up pressure and said because of the shutdown, Democrats will be “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”
Sanders called the attacks as “trying to divide us up, trying to foment hatred. It’s really, really sad.”
He blamed Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell for not compromising when it was clear he didn’t have the votes to pass a House spending package.
House Majority Leader Paul Ryan said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, “I don’t know if that’s productive.” But, he said, “You can’t blame Donald Trump for Senate Democrats shutting down the government.”
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said it was “befuddling” that Democrats have withheld their support for the GOP-backed spending bill until a resolution on DACA is reached, saying Trump administration has shown an “openness” to negotiate further on the issue.
“I think you’ve seen the White House show openness to expand that population, where Democrats have said there are other people who should be a part of the DACA population because they were either afraid or didn’t apply to the program. We’ve shown a willingness to consider that. So we feel like we’re making progress on multiple areas,” Short said.
Democrats and Trump generally have agreed that the program should be salvaged before it expires in March, but Democrats have opposed Trump’s position that any deal on DACA include funding for a border wall and an overhaul of the country’s visa system to get rid of the diversity-based visa lottery program, and family reunification visas.
“If we don’t solve the chain migration, visa lottery programs, we will be back here in a few years . . . we want all these issues solved right now,” Short said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate Minority Whip, called on Trump to “step up and lead on this situation,” voicing his frustration that Trump rescinded a deal he reached with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday, hours after the two met to hash out an agreement at the White House over lunch.
“How can you negotiate with a president under those circumstances?” Durbin said on ABC’s “This Week”.
Durbin said Democrats were willing to make concessions they long have been opposed to, such as funding for the border wall, in order to save DACA.
“Let’s get this done on a bipartisan basis,” Durbin said of passing a spending bill that restores DACA. “We’ve produced a bipartisan approach to many of these issues. If the president and the leaders in Congress will sit down with us, we can resolve this quickly.”
Both sides engaged in behind-the-scenes talks as they insisted they wanted to quickly end the stalemate and avoid letting it stretch into Monday, when Americans would see closed government offices, furloughed employees, and unpaid military and security officials.