Democrats and Republicans point fingers as shutdown looms

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," January 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: There is nothing in the bill the House passed yesterday, not a single thing the Democrats opposed. That's what is so ironic about all of this. This is nothing more than legislative hostage taking.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: Hopefully, Mr. Schumer will find out what the president will sign.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: This vote should be a no-brainer. And it would be, except the Democratic leader has convinced his members to filibuster any funding bill that doesn't include legislation they are demanding for people who came into the United States illegally.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: We had a long and detailed meeting to discuss all of the major outstanding issues. We've made some progress. We still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The progress is not complete, because there is no deal yet. Less than five and a half hours from the partial government shutdown, they are still negotiating. The other side of that negotiation, the president tweeting out this afternoon, "Excellent preliminary meeting in the Oval with Senator Schumer, working on solutions for security and our great military, together with Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan. Making progress. Four-week extension would be best."

We are talking even a few days extension. We don't know. A lot of polls out there, who to blame. Washington Post had one, ABC had one. The most recent was CNN. And this is what they put out: Who is to blame if the government shutdowns? Democrats, 31 percent, Republicans 26 percent, Trump 21 percent, all of them 10 percent.

There's frustration all around.

Let's bring in our panel: Byron York, chief political correspondent of the Washington Examiner; Susan Page, Washington bureau chief, at USA Today, and we welcome Mike Allen, cofounder of Axios.

Mike, let's start with you. Your thoughts on these negotiations?

MIKE ALLEN, AXIOS: Right over your shoulder, we are hearing this real mood swing. For just a couple of hours I think everyone thought the shutdown was virtually assured. Now lots of hope. At the very top, you talk about buying time, which is what they will do. There's a clear reason for that. Whatever the polls show about Republicans, Democrats, there's one person, one group that a shutdown is terrible for, incumbents. Guess who is going to have to vote? Republican or Democrat, they are all incumbents. They're the people in charge. Voters don't like it. It's such a visible sign of the government breaking down.

BAIER: Susan, just in the past few minutes, we had some Democrats up for reelection in red states say they are voting yes for a continuing resolution, the one that's on the table now, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly from Indiana, Joe Manchin already. Some others may join. But you have Republicans who are opposed, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, and others.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: At the moment, the votes aren't there. I think it would be like pulling a rabbit out of the hat to get a deal now. Even if it would be a short-term extension into next week. But it's interesting they are having those discussions.

I agree the shutdown is bad for politicians of all sorts. For Democrats. I think it's worse for Republicans. I think it's worse of all for President Trump, who was elected as a dealmaker, who was going to drain the swamp here. We are standing in the swamp not drained, deal not made.

ALLEN: He's been super involved. Keeps calling these audibles. Republicans fear it'll be even worse for them because of that.


Republicans spent today pretty much on message, Byron, saying they passed something that Democrats like, that there is nothing in what they passed the Democrats should oppose.

BYRON YORK, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: That was the point Mick Mulvaney kept trying to make over and over at the White House today, which is actually true. I think the reason you're seeing all of this brinkmanship is that they are playing the other guys' role from 2013. In the in 2013, you have the Republicans, the minority, insisting that a policy demand of theirs, in this case, defunding Obamacare, be attached to a must-pass government spending bill. And they knew that Democrats opposed it unanimously, including the Democratic president. Now you have Democrats attaching an unrelated policy demand, the DACA provision, to a must-pass spending bill.

I think the reason you're seeing this is the dirty little lesson of 2013 is, remember, there was all this talk about Republicans would just die, this would be fatal for Republicans. Well, they won the Senate in 2014. They kept the House. Then they won everything in 2016. I think there's some of this brinkmanship because people have decided it's not that dangerous.

BAIER: Just in my ear, just moments ago, getting word that there is a proposal for a procedural vote to move on the House continuing resolution for 10:00 p.m. in the Senate. That would close off debate and they would be moving towards a vote on the House continuing resolution. That would mean that, one, they are just going to roll the dice and see who votes where. Or two, they're starting to see some votes move.

PAGE: This is why Americans have so much respect for Washington. At 10 o'clock, they will have a vote with a bunch of gobbledygook that no one understands, either the government will shut down or it won't. On issues where there is in fact agreement. One way this is different from 2013, there is some bipartisan agreement on doing something for the DREAMers, on the DACA thing. It's really in that way not analogous to the shutdown.


BAIER: But you have to concede it's not a budget item.

PAGE: That's true. It's hypocrisy in politics on everyone, no question about that.


BAIER: I mean, to your point, we happen to have Senator Schumer from 2013:


SCHUMER: He comes in and he says basically it's sort of like this, someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage, then says, let's negotiate over the price of your house. We could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We can say where shutting down the government, were not going to raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform. It would be governmental chaos.


BAIER: Governmental chaos. It's funny, Marc Short used the exact same analogy today at the White House about the hostage situation.

ALLEN: We have the president's tweets from a couple of years ago being pulled back, talking about the importance of the president as dealmaker as unifying. Yes.


ALLEN: Yes, you were talking about the rabbit out of the hat. If this brinkmanship pays off, if something happens in the next couple of hours, you are going to have to give credit to President Trump as a dealmaker because he took the risk earlier today of really upsetting Republican leaders by bringing Senator Schumer down there, two New Yorkers, hashing this out, leaving out the speaker and the Senate Republican leader. And it looks like there is movement. We just saw Mick Mulvaney at the White House saying that it looks like there is a deal to be had.


Now if they go -- they want four weeks. But it doesn't sound like the Democrats are going to give them four weeks. They want to have a little bit shorter time to get their back up against the wall on DACA. March 5th is the deadline for the DACA situation. So does five days work, does 10 days work?

YORK: More than five days and less than four weeks. And also, you have to think is the deadline really a deadline, because Mick Mulvaney, again, was talking about, well, the next federal pay day is next Friday. Of course, if you can do something this weekend and get it cleared up before Monday, then people can come back to work. We've all been thinking Friday midnight, but they've had Saturday and Sunday to work on this too.

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