As the longest government shutdown goes into its fourth week, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have all but given up trying to bring it to an end because of President Donald Trump's refusal to bend on his demand for border wall funding, reports Politico.
Asked how things are going, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) succinctly described the lawmakers' dilemma as “We are in this horrible purgatory between heaven and hell.”
According to the report, the inability of Republicans to figure out what Trump would agree to, that could lead to a budget deal he would sign, has tied their hands when it comes to even attempting negotiating.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) lamented the situation she has been put in as her constituents -- in a state that depends heavily on federal dollars -- press her to get the government up and running.
“Glum. Glum. I’m not a glum person. I’m not somebody who gets down. But I’ve been discouraged,” Murkowski explained. “People I work for back home in Alaska are asking me to ‘fix it.’ And it’s hard for one person to fix anything around here. Unless you’re the president. Or the speaker. Or the majority leader.”
Independent Senator Angus King (ME) concurred.
“It’s very frustrating for me because my whole instinct is: Let’s find a way to get this solved. But so far anyway, his idea of negotiating is to say ‘here’s what I want, I’ll give you nothing,’” King remarked. “I could sit down with Mike Pence for an afternoon and we might come to some agreement. And then [Trump would] blow it up.”
The report goes on to state that Republicans led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rob Portman (R-OH) hoped to fashion a compromise that would meet with Trump's approval --while attempting to get 20 fellow Republicans to support it -- only to see it fall apart due to reluctance to fail once again.
As it stands, with Trump also being buffeted by new allegations of possible impeachable offenses, lawmakers think a plan to get federal employees back to work with pay looks bleak.
“I think he’s going to agree to open up the government on a hope and a prayer when donkeys fly. OK?” explained Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), with Connolly chiming in, "Democrats are more than willing to try to give him a face-saving way to step down. He doesn’t seem to want to even consider it."
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