Republicans and Democrats work to bridge gap on budget deal

World Today

A dispute in Congress over spending and immigration has led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government. Both legislative chambers – the Senate and the House – are still in rare Saturday sessions. Meanwhile, the President watches it all unfold from the White House – and tweets the blame on Democrats. CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats are working to bridge the impasse.

But much of Saturday has been characterized by a Washington, D.C. time-honored tradition – blaming the other side.

“Senate Democrats refuse to fund the government unless we agree to their demands on something entirely unrelated – they want a deal on immigration,” said Republican Paul Ryan, the U.S. House Speaker.

Indeed, the one powerful bargaining tool Democrats are clinging to is immigration protection for children who entered the United States illegally.

Vocal supporters have taken to the streets, but Republicans are refusing to support a plan to fund so-called “Dreamers” who are protected by a plan known as DACA – which is set to expire in March.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been busy on Twitter, writing, ” Democrats are far more concerned with illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play shutdown politics instead.”

Unless the two sides can find common ground before the weekend is over, some 850,000 federal workers will be furloughed come Monday. They won’t be paid, and non-essential federal entities will close, including national parks and museums.

Democrats bristle at blame heaped on them, and point out there has never been a U.S. government shutdown while one party controls both chambers and the presidency.

U.S. Senator and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, put it this way: “Every American knows the Republican Party control the White House, the Senate, and the House. It’s their job to keep the government open. It’s their job to work with us on a way to move things forward.”

The Trump Administration isn’t even using the term “shutdown.” Instead, they’re referring to it as a government “lapse.”

As the drama unfolded on Saturday, President Trump sent out an apparent sarcastic tweet, saying, “This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency, and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown.”

Essential government services, such as national security and the military, will continue operating. But unless a budget deal is approved by February 1st, U.S. troops will stop getting paid.

To discus more on the U.S. government shutdown and the Women’s March, CGTN’s Susan Robers spoke with Eleanor Clift, a political analyst for the publication The Daily Beast.