Republicans, Democrats remain in standoff after first day of U.S. government shutdown

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-21 15:14:58|Editor: Chengcheng
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republican and Democratic lawmakers remained in a stand-off over spending and immigration after the federal government partially shut down on Saturday, which cast a shadow over the anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.

The current government funding expired on Friday midnight as the Senate failed to advance a stopgap spending bill, which had passed the House of Representatives and would fund the government through Feb. 16.

The White House and Republicans blamed Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer for the shutdown, as over 40 Senate Democrats blocked the passage of a four-week stopgap spending bill on Friday.

Democrats demanded that a budget deal should include protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which prevents the deportation of young immigrants, known as "Dreamers" brought to the United States as children.

Trump terminated that program in September last year, while asking Congress to come up with a legislative replacement until March 5.

Democrats had hoped that they could use the government spending as leverage to pass an immigration bill, while Republicans and the Trump administration insisted that they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats give them enough votes to reopen the government.

"The President will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday in a statement.

But Schumer claimed that the Republican president was not reliable in negotiations.

"The Republican leadership can't get a tumultuous President on board with anything, and they don't offer us any compromises on their own," he said on the Senate floor, adding "Trump walked away from bipartisan deals" twice in this long debate over immigration.

"The President's behavior is inimical to compromise, which is required to get things done in government. It's impossible to negotiate with a constantly moving target," said Schumer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote on a three-week stopgap spending bill at 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT) on Monday, unless Democrats agree to hold it sooner. It's unclear whether the bill has enough votes to pass the Senate.