White House officials blamed Senate Democrats for bringing Washington to the brink of a government shutdown on Friday, arguing Democrats have pushed to attach an immigration bill to spending legislation before such a policy is ready.
"We're not familiar with anything in the [continuing resolution] that Democrats are opposing," White House legislative director Marc Short told reporters at the White House on Friday.
Short said Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes from the short-term spending bill only because they are "hellbent on getting a shutdown."
Senate Democrats have pushed to extend protections under the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the spending bill, a move Republicans have opposed for more than a month. DACA will end on March 5.
"The bill is simply not ready," budget director Mick Mulvaney said of the immigration deal Democrats and Republicans have spent this month negotiating.
"There's no DACA bill to vote on, and there's no emergency in terms of the timing on DACA," Mulvaney added. "There is no reason that you have to deal with DACA this week."
Lawmakers in the House passed a continuing resolution on Thursday that would keep the government open until Feb. 16 and fund the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. But near-unanimous Democratic opposition to the bill in the Senate due to its lack of immigration provisions could derail the spending deal before government funding runs dry at midnight.
White House officials have pointed to past statements from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in which he criticized the idea of shutting down the government over immigration as they argue that Democrats should bear the blame for playing politics with the federal budget. Democrats, however, have cited statements from President Trump in which he said those in charge of government should take responsibility when the government shuts down.
Short said Friday that Democrats have not specified what changes they want to make to the continuing resolution in order to earn their votes.
"I don't think it's clear what the Democrats are asking for," Short said. "There's not bill text that they're asking Republicans to bring up."
Earlier Friday, Mulvaney placed the chances of the government shutting down at "50-50."
Trump scrapped a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla. estate, on Friday as the likelihood of a government shutdown grew larger. The president has spent Friday working the phones as Republicans scramble to find at least nine Democratic votes in the Senate in order to pass the four-week spending bill.