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White House involvement complicates government shutdown

For the second time since 2013, Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a deal that would keep much of the government open. A late-night meeting between President Trump and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer fell short of an agreement on a stopgap measure that would keep the government running as both parties continued the debate Saturday. NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins joins Hari Sreenivasan.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Good evening and thanks for joining us on the one year anniversary of President Trumps inauguration. The federal government is shut down all but the most essential functions of government are being halted by the Senate and House of Representatives are in session with no clear end in sight. Mail will still be delivered Social Security checks will still go out. The military will continue its missions around the world. Some national parks do remain open but if the shutdown continues into Monday nearly 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed including workers from almost every federal agency. This morning President Trump tweeted that quote Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. And later said they are quote holding our military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Earlier in the day the president spoke with Republican leaders from the White House. The White House legislative director insisted that no negotiations on immigration issues could continue while the government is shut down.

  • WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR:

    We're not going to be held hostage to let our troops be held hostage over this. [0 When they reopen the government we will continue discussions last night with less than two hours before the midnight deadline.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The Senate voted on a package that had already passed the House of Representatives. It would have kept the government open for another four weeks extended the children's health insurance program for six years and permanently repeal to health care taxes. But the bill did not include any immigration measures. Republicans fell ten votes short of the 60 needed five Democrats joined with Republicans to support the measure and five Republicans sided with Democrats to vote against the resolution immediately. Leaders from both parties blamed each other in a statement just before the midnight deadline. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Democrats quote "obstructionist losers." Republicans are calling the shutdown the Schumer shut down after the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

  • MITCH MCCONNELL:

    The American people cannot begin to understand why the Senate Democratic leader thinks the entire government should be shut down until he gets his way n illegal immigration.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Minority Leader Schumer called it the Trump shutdown and insisted that Democrats were willing to compromise including on funding for a wall on the border with Mexico.

  • CHUCK SCHUMER:

    Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with jello. It's next to impossible. As soon as you take one step forward the hard right forces the president three steps back.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Senator John McCain who did not vote because he's being treated for brain cancer in Arizona blamed both sides. In a statement he said for years under both the Republican and Democrat controlled Congress and White House partisanship has taken precedence over national security. For some analysis I'm joined from Washington D.C. by the users Lisa Desjardins. Lisa we hear this idea of kind of a three week extension being kicked around Capitol Hill today was that mean?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Yeah I think that's the dominant plan right now. The idea would be to extend funding for most of government all the part that's lapsed for three weeks until February 8th. It's something that both sides are interested in Hari. But the problem is Democrats say they still want guarantees that there will be votes on the dock of legislation that they think can pass the Senate. They believe they have 60 votes for that legislation. Why it hasn't passed they say is because simply majority leader Mitch McConnell won't bring it up. So they're saying this is our one chance we think to get guarantees that legislation has a chance. They might like the three week deal but they don't trust Republicans and in the last day Democrats say the president and Paul Ryan have rejected offers from Democrats that they thought were reasonable. They're not sure who they can trust.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    So this trust issue has come partly in the context of a lot of finger pointing that happened yesterday that Republicans want to call this the Schumer shutdown and Schumer wants to call it the Trump shutdown.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Right. Right. And I think that's a sign of where we are. I do not sense at all on Capitol Hill the urgency that I think is required to end a shutdown. Instead what you have is people trying to brand this shutdown brand the blame and instead you see both sides looking to their bases for support rather than talking about the very real world effects that will start probably on Monday. And then if there's a week long shutdown then we will see even more effects because Hari, Friday is the last time that federal workers will get a paycheck without government funds so then we would see people's bank accounts start to be funded almost a million federal workers will be furloughed and nearly every federal worker would be affected if paychecks lapsed.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    If this impasse right now it doesn't seem like Mitch McConnell wants to move anywhere on immigration doesn't seem that the White House says look not going to talk about immigration while the government is still shut down. But that is kind of supposed to be a line in the sand for Democrats and progressives and liberals are saying you can't move forward on this border wall funding without getting something here.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Well there are a lot of complicating factors here. One is the personalities involved. It's not clear to me what Mitch McConnell wants ultimately on immigration but I do think he would like to see a bill pass the Senate. He would like to see dreamers protected. But the issue is we've now seen the White House move and reject immigration deals that Mitch McConnell was allowing to start be created. So I think the endgame on that is very complicated and has to do as much with Republican Party divide as Democrats versus Republicans. [00:05:24]

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right Lisa Desjardins joining us from Washington D.C. tonight thanks so much.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    My pleasure.

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