Talk But No Deal as Government Shutdown Looms

The Capitol is seen early morning in Washington, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on government funding and a holiday shutdown looms after Democrats on Tuesday rejected a $1.6 billion spending bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer refused the proposal after a call to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.

In a Senate leadership press conference on Tuesday, Schumer honed in on the proposal’s $1 billion dollar “slush fund” for Trump’s various immigration policies – a stipulation he said was unpalatable.

McConnell, looking to “thread the needle” on the border security issue, said he believed the proposal was reasonable for both sides, and would have garnered bipartisan support. Schumer scoffed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to members of the media at the Capitol in Washington on Nov. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“Let me be clear, the Republican offer today would not pass either chamber,” Schumer said. “We Democrats have two reasonable offers that could earn overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.”

While Schumer said Democrats would “seriously consider” a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government should the Republicans put one on the table, McConnell’s proposal was out of the question. He said the Democratic funding proposals are the current preference, since both include continuing resolutions that would halt funding negotiations until the Democrats take control of the House in January.

While the congressional impasse rages, Trump has backed down from his $5 billion border wall demand. The new White House stance is a departure from the president’s sentiments last week, when he said he would be “proud” to shut down the government over immigration.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders echoed the shift Tuesday, claiming the president did not wish to see the government shut down and that the administration would find “other ways” to fund the wall.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speak together during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

But Schumer said even that wouldn’t happen.

“They need congressional approval. They’re not getting it for the wall. Plain and simple,” Schumer said.

McConnell said the Republicans were in talks with the White House on ways to move forward ahead of Friday’s funding deadline, but his assurances differed with Sanders’ statement this morning when asked about whether the president would sign a continuing resolution.

“You know, at this point, the Senate has thrown out a lot of ideas. We’re disappointed in the fact that they’ve yet to actually vote on something and pass something,” Sanders said at the press briefing. “So when they do that, we’ll make a determination on whether or not we’re going to sign that.”

Both parties expressed their desire to avoid a shutdown during Tuesday’s remarks. If a solution is not reached by Friday, hundreds of thousands of government employees won’t see a paycheck over the Christmas break.

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