“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform. During this politically manufactured Schumer Shutdown, the president and his administration will fight for and protect the American people.”
The Senate needed 60 votes to defeat a filibuster on the measure, but barely a majority voted for it. Five Democrats sided with most Republicans to keep the government open: Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All but Jones, who defeated Roy Moore in an upset win last month, are up for reelection next year in states Trump carried in 2016. But four Republicans sided with Democrats to block the bill and shutter the government: Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ultimately voted against the bill, but only for procedural reasons to allow him to bring it up again.)
Despite late efforts to reach a deal on an even shorter-term extension of funding, the bill’s defeat appeared to guarantee at least a brief shutdown, the first since conservatives forced a lapse in funding in a fight over the Affordable Care Act in 2013.
Early in the afternoon, Trump called Schumer to the White House for a 90-minute meeting to resolve the impasse. But it was inconclusive. Schumer said little immediately after the meeting but later confirmed that he had made an offer to the president on DACA that included support for Trump’s prized border wall—which Democrats have largely opposed for more than a year. “But even that was not enough,” Schumer said in a floor speech early Saturday after the climactic Senate vote.
He said that while Trump was initially amenable to his offer, he refused to push McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to accept it. Schumer contrasted Trump’s reluctance to back the deal with his earlier promise, in a roomful of lawmakers during a public meeting at the White House, to “take the heat” for a politically risky immigration accord.
“What happened to that president?” Schumer asked. “He backed off at the first sign of pressure.”
McConnell, meanwhile, lashed into Democrats for what he called a “cynical” move to shut down the government over immigration, noting that the deadline for protecting Dreamers would not come until March. “The government shutdown was 100 percent avoidable,” the majority leader said. And he suggested that he would hold votes throughout the weekend aimed at demonstrating Democratic intransigence if necessary. “The government may be heading into a shutdown, but the Senate isn’t shutting down,” McConnell said.