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Congress meets to try to end government shutdown as immigration remains a focus

iStock/Thinkstock
iStock/Thinkstock

(WASHINGTON) — Lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill Saturday morning after a dramatic showdown led to a federal government shutdown shortly after midnight on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

It is the first time in recent history when government operations shut down while Republicans control both the White House and Congress.

The House and Senate are to reconvene to attempt to broker an agreement to fund the government, with the House expected to hold votes following a round of speeches.

Over the days, hours and even minutes leading up to the shutdown, immigration came into sharp focus as an issue where both parties were deeply divided.

Trump, in early-morning tweets on Saturday, focused on immigration and sought to place the blame for the shutdown squarely on Democrats.

“Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess,” Trump tweeted.

A subsequent tweet read, “This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he thought negotiators were nearing a deal Friday when he met with Trump. The New York Democrat said he “reluctantly” agreed to fund a border wall in exchange for protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients.

“President Trump, if you are listening, I am urging you: Please take ‘yes’ for an answer,” Schumer said on Friday.

Meanwhile, thousands of activists — many of them galvanized by Trump’s election to office a year ago — are gathering in cities across the nation for the second annual Women’s March, which organizers are calling “#PowerToThePolls” this year. The shutdown of federal operations is likely to come up in speeches by lawmakers, celebrities and others in cities such as Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; New York; and other communities.

Saturday’s shutdown also comes exactly a year after President Trump in his inauguration speech said, “We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”

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