After a midnight deadline came and went Friday night in a bid to avert a government shutdown, Democrats in Washington were quick to assign blame.
“There’s no one more to blame for the position we find ourselves than President Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor early Saturday. “Instead of bringing us all together, he’s pulled us apart.”
Throughout his speech, Schumer used the phrase “Trump Shutdown” — an apparent reaction to the Republicans’ insistence during the week that any shutdown should be labeled a “Schumer Shutdown.”
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also saw responsibility lying with the president — but also with other Republican leaders.
“What a massive failure of leadership. Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Republican lawmakers pulled out all the stops to give a massive tax break to their wealthy donors, but now that it’s time to take care of the rest of America they can’t get their act together,” Perez said in a statement.
“The American people clearly want Congress to take care of veterans, combat the opioid crisis, ensure children have long-term access to health care, and protect Dreamers. Instead, Republican leaders have pushed our government into a needless shutdown. This is Trump’s Republican Party: chaotic, destructive and driven by greed. Voters won’t forget who the GOP truly cares about on Election Day.”
In her response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quoted President Trump as having said that “our country needs a good shutdown.”
“There is no such thing as a good shutdown of government,” Pelosi responded. “Republicans’ total inability to govern is once again threatening our economy, weakening communities, and dangerously depriving the military of the certainty they need to keep our nation safe.
“I am proud of House and Senate Democrats’ unity in insisting on a budget that supports our military and the domestic investments that keep our nation strong, and that honors our values by protecting the DREAMers.
“I hope that we can now conduct bipartisan negotiations where we find our common ground to honor our responsibility to meet the needs of the American people.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. — who earlier in the week took criticism for his questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen during a Senate hearing — tweeted that Republicans had “failed” the American people.
“(A)nd now the American people will suffer,” Booker concluded.
Republicans control the Senate 51-49. The GOP needed 60 votes to pass a temporary spending plan late Friday to avert a shutdown, but the tally was 50-49. Five Democrats voted in favor of the measure. Five Republicans voted against it.
The Senate adjourned early Saturday, with plans to resume negotiations later in the day in hopes of reaching a spending agreement and ending the shutdown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.