US Senate leaders meet in bid to end government shutdown

Lawmakers scramble for a deal amid shutdown-DACA'chaos

Alex Wong Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer D-N.Y

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell on Saturday set a key vote for a funding measure for 1 am (0600 GMT) on Monday, with both houses of Congress set to reconvene on Sunday.

And Trump weighed in on Twitter: "Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our unsafe Southern Border".

Democrats had sought to secure permanent legal protections for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants as a condition for new government funding after their attempts to push through the protections in stand-alone bills were rebuffed.

But Republican support is only half the battle: the Senate needs 60 votes to pass the continuing resolution, and Republicans only control 51 seats. Five Democrats from states won by President Donald Trump broke ranks in a vote Friday.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is defending himself from charges of hypocrisy in his attacks on Democrats over the government shutdown, given his own role at the center of the last fiscal clash in 2013. "I think the administration's position is that as soon as they reopen the government, we'll resume negotiations on DACA, but it's hard to negotiate on that while they're keeping our border agents unpaid, keeping our troops unpaid, and not paying for American services".

"If year one is about tallying campaign promises", said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, "in year two, we can talk about results".

Kaine told a large crowd gathered in Washington for the pre-scheduled women's march that while the Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, "they can't even get a budget done".

The dramatic shutdown marked the finale of a game of chicken that's been waged for months between Republicans and Democrats.

"It's gamesmanship and it's partisanship", Paul said.

For all the legislative ambition of the first year, Trump's second stands to be a more muted affair.

Donald Trump's first anniversary as United States president was marred by chaos Saturday as lawmakers traded bitter recriminations over a government shutdown while mass demonstrations erupted in cities across the country.

The Senate will vote at 1 a.m. EST on Monday on whether to advance a measure to fund the government through February 8, unless Democrats agree to hold it sooner, McConnell said on Saturday. "For starters, I keep a lot of balls in the air because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first". While there have been multiple bills introduced in Congress, GOP leadership has not committed to bringing up any specific legislation.

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White House officials said Trump is looking forward to spending much of the year promoting his achievements on judicial nominations, deregulation and passage of the tax overhaul.

Four Republicans joined most Democrats in killing the measure.

"Dreamers aren't bargaining chips" has been the mantra of Democrats who demand a "clean" DACA bill.

"That would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our founding fathers", said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on ABC's This Week on Sunday "We have to acknowledge a respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and its procedure". "And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump's shoulders". Nothing has been agreed to, the lawmakers said, and there were no indications that leaders of either party or the White House was on board.

Republican and Democratic leaders were expected to renew negotiations on Saturday in the hope of restoring government financing before Monday. Democrats increasingly focused their messaging on criticizing Trump, whose popularity is dismal.

At the White House on Sunday, there were few signs of activity, as a skeleton crew of aides remained at work.

"They need to open the government tonight or tomorrow and then we can start talking", Mulvaney said on CNN.

"People from one end of the country to the other know it's the Trump shutdown, and they know why", Schumer said Sunday.

The Statue of Liberty and Philadelphia's Liberty Bell were closed, but visitors had access to other sites such as Yellowstone.

But no such compromise was in the language that reached Congress for a stop-gap motion to keep the government open for four more weeks while a final arrangement is discussed.

Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. But it is still not clear there are enough votes for that legislation to pass.

At the same time, congressional leaders from both parties have been trying to reach an agreement to raise strict limits on domestic and military spending, a deal that would pave the way for a long-term spending package.

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