Graham anticipates a breakthrough in shutdown negotiations

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, predicted Sunday afternoon that there could be a ‘breakthrough’ in sight, as he joined a bipartisan group of senators to negotiate the end to the government shutdown.

‘If there’s going to be one, it will be tonight,’ Graham said.  

Graham told reporters that he believed the Senate could pass a continuing resolution to fund the government for three weeks, with an ‘understanding’ from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the upper chamber would then tackle immigration issues in the weeks ahead. 

Negotiations had been at a standstill, with Democrats saying they wouldn’t reopen the government until an immigration deal was etched out. 

Republicans, including those at the White House, said they wouldn’t negotiate on immigration until the government reopened. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, photographed Saturday on Capitol Hill, said Sunday he believed a ‘breakthrough’ was in sight and that it would possibly come tonight 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer assigned blame for the government shutdown on President Trump

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer assigned blame for the government shutdown on President Trump

At 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Senate came back into session, with McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, trading barbs – and assigning blame for the shutdown – on the Senate floor. 

‘This shutdown was a political miscalculation of gargantuan proportions,’ McConnell huffed. ‘But it doesn’t need to go on any longer. It could stop today.’ 

‘Let’s step back from the brink,’ the top Senate Republican implored. ‘Let’s stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.’ 

McConnell put the blame for the shutdown squarely on Schumer’s shoulders. 

‘He shut down the government to appease a portion of his party’s left-wing base. Makes you shake your head,’ the Kentucky Republican said. ‘Who comes up with ideas like this?’

When it was Schumer’s turn to take the floor, he assigned blame to President Trump. 

‘The Congressional leaders tell me to negotiate with President Trump. President Trump tells me to figure it out with the Congressional leaders. This political Catch-22, never seen before, has driven our government to dysfunction,’ Schumer said.

Schumer was the last lawmaker to get facetime with the president before the shutdown, which kicked off at midnight on Friday. 

The New York Democrat had lunch with the president on Friday and thought they had almost gotten to a deal. 

‘On Friday, in the Oval Office, I made what I thought was a very generous offer to the president. The most generous offer yet. The president demanded for months that a deal on DACA include the wall,’ Schumer said. 

The top Senate Democrat said he agreed to the dollar figure Trump had thrown out, despite having reservations about the effectiveness of the wall. 

Then, Schumer said, Trump walked away from the deal. 

Graham, talking to reporters on Capitol Hill Sunday, pointed a finger at immigration hard-liners like Stephen Miller, one of President Trump’s top White House advisers. 

‘Every time we have a proposal, it is only yanked back by staff members,’ Graham said. ‘As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating on immigration, we are going nowhere.’   

The South Carolina Republican gave a curt ‘no’ when asked if he had spoken to President Trump today, saying that the Senate needs to step in and lead.