President Trump lobbied Congress on Sunday to end a government shutdown that reached its second day amid deep uncertainty over whether Democrats and Republicans could break an impasse to restore federal funding.
Trump praised the Republicans for "fighting for our Army and border security," while saying that Democrats "only want illegal immigrants to enter our nation uncontrollably."
"If the stalemate continues," he wrote on Twitter, Republicans should use the "Nuclear Option" to change the rules of the Senate and try to pass a long-term spending bill with a simple majority.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers prepared for another tense day, with the start of the work week for many federal employees less than 24 hours away.
The Senate will begin its session at 1 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Has promised to adopt a new spending plan by Monday morning, or earlier, that would keep the government open until February 8.
But the proposal would not contain a solution for "dreamers", undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, raising questions about whether the plan will gain enough support to pass.
In the past, Trump has made similar arguments to his Sunday statement, urging Republican Senate leaders to change the old Senate rules that require 60 votes for most legislation. McConnell has said he is not open to such a change.
Congress leaders in both parties refused to move publicly from their political corners on Saturday on the first day of closure, avoiding direct negotiations and bitterly accusing one another in speeches. Trump joined the fray with a series of loaded tweets.
But glimmers of a breakthrough at the end of the day were glimpsed, when Democrats and moderate Republicans began to join a new short-term financing proposal to reopen the government until the beginning of February. .
That plan could include funds for states ravaged by the storm, the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program and an implicit agreement to hold the votes sometime in the next few weeks on a bipartisan immigration agreement, according to the senators involved. in the discussions.
"He wants to keep the government closed until we finalize a negotiation on the issue of illegal immigration," McConnell said of his Democratic counterpart, Senate minority leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.). McConnell repeated: "Close the government by illegal immigration."
Moderate senators, meanwhile, try to reach an agreement on immigration in the hope that, if a three-week spending agreement is approved, McConnell would allow it. for a vote along with a longer-term spending plan.
The Democrats, however, strongly opposed McConnell's approach, uncertain that they would accept and frustrate the Republicans' refusal to satisfy their immigration demands while the government is closed. What is at stake for the Democrats is the fate of thousands of young immigrants eligible for protection from deportation under the deferred action program for the arrival of Obama's childhood. Trump canceled the program in September and expires in March. Lawmakers are struggling to enact a legislative solution