- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Congress blasted through the first day of a government shutdown Saturday with little substantive progress on ending the blockade, and no end in sight.

Democrats blocked efforts to try to end the shutdown in the Senate, while the House ground to a halt time and again as Democrats complained Republicans were being too mean by quoting Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans have offered a new solution to the shutdown, proposing a bill that would open the government and keep it running through Feb. 8, giving all sides time to negotiate the other issues. That’s less than the four-week proposal now on the table.

But Democrats wanted more time to think about the Feb. 8 deal, and refused to allow action Saturday.

“I think the dates are less important than what’s the package and what’s the process by which we get out,” said Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat.

Other Democrats were more strident, saying Republicans will have to agree to Democrats’ demands before there’s an agreement to reopen the government.

“Again, they’re going to have to come up with a bipartisan deal that works [and] keep the government open. I’m stunned at their irresponsibility so far,” said Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat.

The Senate’s top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, said Democrats will feel the heat for the shutdown, which he blamed squarely on Mr. Schumer, the Democratic leader.

Mr. McConnell said if Democrats don’t allow a sped-up vote on reopening the government, they’ll be in session at 1 a.m. Monday morning — the soonest time possible under the rules — to vote.

“We’ll keep at this until Democrats end their extreme filibuster,” he said.

Most Democrats said they were filibustering the spending bill because it didn’t include full citizenship rights for illegal immigrant Dreamers.

But Mrs. Pelosi pushed back on that notion, saying there are plenty of other issues that divide the two parties on spending. She said Republicans are pushing for a massive hike in Pentagon funding, but have refused to allow an equal amount of domestic money.

Mrs. Pelosi insisted the cash would go to bipartisan priorities such as anti-opioid efforts, relief from last year’s natural disasters, and boosting veteran assistance.

“Let’s all take a deep breath,” she said.

Her plea came as temperatures soared in the House. Democrats were incensed that Republicans used a posted quoting Mr. Schumer in 2013 arguing against a shutdown. At the time called it “politics of idiocy.”

Republicans also quoted Mrs. Pelosi this week calling the GOP’s bill “a bowl of doggy doo.”

Democrats said it was unbecoming the floor debate to repeat those words, and demanded sanctions against the Republicans who tried. But the acting House speaker ruled there was nothing untoward about quoting the two Democratic leaders.

Democrats, for their part, repeatedly mocked President Trump, accusing him of poor negotiating skills and bad leadership during the negotiations.

Mr. Trump, who canceled a trip to Florida to stay in Washington during the shutdown, took to Twitter to say Democrats were “holding our military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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