MiamiHerald / Americans awoke Saturday to learn that quarreling politicians in Washington had failed to keep their government in business, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
It was a striking display of Washington dysfunction, and the finger-pointing came quickly. Trump tweeted that Democrats “wanted to give me a nice present” to mark the start of his second year in office.
The Republican-controlled Congress scheduled an unusual weekend session to begin considering a three-week version of a short-term spending measure and to broadcast to the people they serve that they were at work as the closure commenced. It seemed likely that each side would push for votes aimed at making the other party look culpable for shuttering federal agencies.
Trump spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell early Saturday to discuss next steps, while chief of staff John Kelly also worked the phones. Top White House negotiators, legislative affairs director Marc Short and budget director Mick Mulvaney, went to Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans.