Trump claims Democrats 'want to shut down the government' as Friday deadline looms

Key Points
  • President Trump accuses Democrats of wanting a government shutdown.
  • Congress needs to pass a spending bill by the end of Friday to avoid a shutdown.
  • Talks over an immigration bill — which Democrats want to pass this week — have complicated efforts to keep the government open.
Trump claims Democrats 'want to shut down the government' as deadline looms

President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Tuesday of seeking a government shutdown, as Congress scrambles to fund the government ahead of a Friday deadline.

Top Democrats have signaled they will not support a spending bill unless they also reach a deal to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. Talks on an immigration plan — which would include new border security funding to appease Republicans — hit a snag following Trump's tense meeting with bipartisan senators last week.

Congress now has four days including Tuesday to pass a spending bill — with or without the Democrats — to yet again avoid a government shutdown at the last minute. Lawmakers most recently reached a short-term funding deal in late December to keep the government open for less than a month.

Republicans control both chambers of Congress, but Trump has repeatedly argued that Democrats should take the blame if a shutdown happens.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he wants to keep funding and immigration bills separate.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump claimed that "Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security." He added that "we need a merit based system of immigration" and "no more dangerous" visa lottery.

In a bill, Democrats want legal protection for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump ended in September with a delay that expires in March. They have not publicly sought "amnesty for all" as characterized by Trump.

Trump and GOP negotiators in Congress have sought funding for additional border security measures and limits on family immigration, among other measures, in a deal. Trump rejected a deal brought to him by bipartisan Senate negotiators on Thursday.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — one of those negotiators — told reporters on Tuesday that "we did everything [Trump] asked" in the bipartisan proposal presented to him on Thursday.

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Comments Trump allegedly made during the meeting have further complicated talks. Last week, Durbin said that Trump said "hate-filled" things at the meeting, questioning the need for immigrants from "s---hole" African countries.

On Monday, Trump claimed that "Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting."

"Deals can't get made when there is no trust!" he tweeted.

Republican meeting attendee Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina did not deny that Trump made those comments. Trump allies Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., cast doubts on whether Trump made the comments.

Graham on Tuesday told reporters that he believes lawmakers can still reach an immigration deal with Trump.

He added: "We should all be kicked out" if the government shuts down.