Congress back at work on Sunday, still searching for deal to end shutdown

With no signs of any deal to restore funding for the federal government, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be back for a rare Sunday session, with no real signs of an agreement to end the first government shutdown since 2013, as both parties continued to point the finger of blame at each other.

The main stumbling block continues to be immigration, and what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Dreamers in the United States, who were protected under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, which was ended by the Trump Administration in October.

Republicans made clear – there is no deadline on DACA until March – as they said those negotiations should simply continue while the government is funded and operating.

“I hope Senator Schumer comes to his senses and ends this shutdown madness sooner rather than later,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, taking aim at the Senate Democratic Leader.

But for Democrats, they worry that the GOP will never deal on immigration and DACA, as their leaders have decided now is the time to press for action.

During Saturday’s House and Senate sessions – where no obvious progress was made – Democrats continued to argue that Republicans were the problem, since the GOP is in charge of the House, Senate and White House.

“Americans know Republicans own the Trump Shutdown,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). “Anyone claiming otherwise should double check who has control in Congress.”

Instead of signs of compromise, Saturday was mainly filled with tough rhetoric from both parties. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s grade for his first year in office was a “big fat failure F.”

With no evidence of any deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a procedural vote for just after 1 am on Monday morning, trying to force action on a plan to extend government funding until February 8, as he again blamed Democrats for the impasse.

If Democrats hold together as they did late on Friday night, then that motion would not get the needed 60 votes to end debate, meaning the shutdown would hit government offices on Monday morning.

Various federal agencies were still making their plans for Monday; one federal worker that I saw on Saturday evening said his office had been told to come in for four hours on Monday, and then they would likely be sent home if there was no funding plan approved by the Congress.

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