The Republican Party is struggling to get its house in order before their inability to do so causes a government shutdown.
The key issue is immigration, with Democrats refusing to agree to a long-term spending deal with Republicans until Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants who were protected by President Barack Obama under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — are guaranteed protection from deportation, according to Politico. The two parties have also clashed on immigration-related issues like border security and building Trump's controversial border wall.
"It’s a decision. All you have to do is decide that you’re going to do it. That gives us a whole week — next week — and another day when we come back after Martin Luther King Day. Hopefully, we can come to some agreement in the next week," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Monday.
Pelosi has nevertheless remained steadfastly optimistic about the chances of avoiding a government shutdown, although she claimed that a White House meeting with Democratic leaders on Tuesday was unlikely to yield any benefits.
"They're not really inviting the people who have the most skin in the game, who know the issue. Surprising as it may seem to you, the more you know about the issue, the more you can compromise," Pelosi told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
Republicans have been presenting their own narrative of the events leading up to the possible shutdown. As Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, argued in a Senate speech on Monday, "As the Democrats see it, it’s take it or leave it, their way or the highway. That isn’t good faith. That isn’t negotiation."
Conservative columnist Michael Graham has also tried to lay the groundwork for blaming Democrats in the event of a government shutdown.
"There is a deal practically sitting on the table right now: Republicans agree to amnesty for those covered by DACA, President Trump gives up on direct funding of the wall, and Democrats agree to common-sense reforms like E-Verify, ending chain migration and killing the diversity lottery," Graham wrote for CBS News on Tuesday.
He added, "Once the GOP makes the first two moves — and I predict they will — do Democrats really shut down the government defending these difficult to defend and broadly unpopular policies?"
But as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote in The Washington Post on Tuesday, the main problem with a government shutdown is the innocent people it would hurt.
"A shutdown would harm tens of millions of working-class families who would be unable to access vital services. It would disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal employees who would not receive the paychecks they expected. It would endanger members of the U.S. military who are putting their lives on the line defending our nation," Sanders explained.