No one on Capitol Hill or the White House seems any closer to resolving the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. In an effort to appear busy, however, both sides are resorting to political stunts.
There have already been three failed attempts this week try and break the nearly month-long stalemate. House Democrats brought legislation to the floor that would re-open the government through Feb. 1 to allow negotiations to continue, the White House invited a handful of moderate Democrats to a lunch to discuss a way out and freshman Democrats marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to demand he work with them on a solution.
None of these efforts were successful, but then it wasn’t clear that anyone expected them to, either.
With only six House Republicans breaking with their party, Democrats in the lower chamber failed to get the necessary two-thirds support for their measure to re-open the government. (Normally they would need a simply majority but used a legislative mechanism requiring a higher threshold, which an aide said was the fastest way to get the bill to the floor). Every one of the Democrats invited to the White House declined the invitation. And the freshman Democrats were unable to talk to McConnell, because he was voting on the Senate floor.
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The stunts were nothing new in the shutdown, either. House Democrats have been passing pieces of legislation to re-open parts of the government since they officially took back the majority earlier this month, even though they know full well that Trump won’t sign anything that does not include his requested $5 billion in border wall funding. Democrats maintain that all of these bills had previously garnered bipartisan support in the Senate and should easily pass, but Republicans are dismissing the efforts as political theater.
“The President is correct. In 45 minutes we can get this done. I’ve been in every single meeting. Never once have I…