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Richard Shelby decries ‘blame game’ over government shutdown

December 30, 2018

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said negotiations to reopen the government are “at an impasse” and that all sides need to stop pointing fingers to fix the situation.

“We’ve got to move away from the blame game,” Mr. Shelby told CBS’s Face the Nation. “Right now, we’re at a standoff and I think that’s not good for the Senate, the House or America. We can do better.”

President Trump and Democrats have largely talked past each other amid the partial government shutdown. Mr. Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, but Senate Democrats who wield a filibuster have refused.

Mr. Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, suggested fault lies on all sides for the standoff, saying Mr. Trump’s tweeting and the Democrats decision to dig in their heels isn’t helpful.

“Nobody’s going to win this type of game,” Mr. Shelby said. “We all lose, and we all kind of look silly.”

He said he’s ready to reach out to the Democrats and rope in Mr. Trump on a deal, possibly something that helps “Dreamers” brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“I think that probably will be discussed and other things, too,” he said. “We’re going to have to negotiate.”

He said border security should be part of a deal and that Democrats will have to be clearer about what they want in exchange.

For their part, Democrats say they’re willing to negotiate but they’re wary of Mr. Trump’s demands and negotiating style.

They say there are better ways to secure the border than an actual wall, and they’re afraid the president will move the goalposts on any pact.

“We do need comprehensive immigration reform. In the end we need to know what the president wants, and hopefully he’ll stick to it,” Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, said. “We need some predictability.”

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