Republicans and Democrats trade blame as Congress barrels toward a possible government shutdown

Key Points
  • Facing a government shutdown, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell accuse Democrats of playing politics as they seek a deal to protect "dreamers" in a spending bill.
  • Chuck Schumer says he would put the blame for a shutdown on McConnell and President Trump.
Paul Ryan: We won’t bring a DACA bill that the president won’t support
Paul Ryan: We won’t bring a DACA bill that the president won’t support

House Speaker Paul Ryan warned on Wednesday against "playing political games" as Democrats threatened to block a last-ditch spending deal this week if they cannot also pass a plan to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Parts of the government will shut down if Congress cannot pass a spending bill by the end of Friday. The GOP has framed passing funding legislation as crucial to supporting American military and national security efforts.

"For people to hold up money for our military for these unrelated issues — and for deadlines that don't even exist this Friday — that makes no sense," Ryan told reporters.

Republicans have control of the House, Senate and White House and can pass a spending bill on their own. Some Republicans, however, have criticized the notion of passing another short-term funding plan. Congress in late December last approved a stopgap bill through Friday.

House Republicans hope to pass another temporary measure this week to extend government funding through Feb. 16. It would reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years and delay some Affordable Care Act taxes.

The GOP does not plan to approve legislation this week to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which President Donald Trump ended in September. The immigrants could start to face deportation after March 5.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the funding measure a "loser." He added that Democrats "will do everything we can" to avoid a shutdown.

"If, God forbid, there's a shutdown, it will fall on the majority leader's shoulders and the president's shoulders," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Schumer decried Trump's rejection of an immigration deal bipartisan senators brought to him Thursday. It would have protected the immigrants shielded by DACA and made concessions to Republicans, including increasing funding for some border security measures and making changes to extended family migration.

Earlier last week, Trump signaled to bipartisan lawmakers that he would sign whatever they passed.

In remarks Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said bipartisan talks on immigration continued, but added that he did not believe the issue needed to be resolved this week.

"There's no cause whatsoever for manufacturing a crisis and holding up funding for the vital services of the federal government," McConnell said.