Trump Invites Schumer to the White House to Reopen Negotiations


In an early-morning Twitter post on Friday, he put pressure on Democrats to keep the federal government open.

Marc Short, the White House legislative director, told reporters he’d last spoken to the president last night and that Mr. Trump was making calls to try to negotiate a deal. He wouldn’t say whom he had called.

“We’re trying to keep it open,” he said.

Mr. Short also said, “This is not about policy. This is about politics.”

White House budget director grows nervous.

Mick Mulvaney, who heads the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the Trump administration is preparing for “what we’re calling the ‘Schumer shutdown.’” Earlier Friday, Mr. Mulvaney put the likelihood of a shutdown at “50-50.

“We were operating under sort of a 30-percent shutdown” assumption on Thursday, he told reporters. “I think we’re ratcheting it up now.”

“I’m handicapping it now at some place between 50 and 60 percent.”

He added: “But again we’re planning for it as if it’s 100 percent.”

Democrats face risks if they block the bill.

Senate Republicans are set to test whether Democrats will make good on their promise to move the government toward a shutdown. But Democrats appear intent on securing concessions that would, among other things, protect from deportation young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, increase domestic spending, aid Puerto Rico and bolster the government’s response to the opioid epidemic.

And they hope that Mr. Trump, scorched by the firestorm prompted by his vulgar, racially tinged comments on Africa last week, will be forced back to the negotiating table.

“Republicans control the House, they control the Senate and they control the presidency,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. “The government stays open if they want it to stay open, and it shuts down if they want it to shut down. It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road and time to start negotiating in good faith.”

If Democrats vote the bill down, the move would hold undeniable risks. Ten Senate Democrats are running for re-election in states that Mr. Trump won in 2016, and many of those states — such as Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia — may hold little sympathy for one of the primary causes of the looming shutdown: protecting young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

But Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, argued on Friday that her party’s opposition to the stopgap bill was paying off.

“Because of the courage and leadership of congressional Democrats, our hand is greatly strengthened in our negotiations” over several Democratic priorities, she wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Ms. Pelosi had urged members of her caucus to vote against the stopgap measure, and only six House Democrats ended up voting for it.

“Last night, House Democrats demonstrated great unity in expressing our values and acting upon them,” she wrote in the letter. “I am writing to thank you and also to express the appreciation of so many across the country who have conveyed their gratitude for our taking a strong stand.”

Read more from Thomas Kaplan and Sheryl Gay Stolberg »

Don’t worry about that Yosemite vacation.

National Parks will remain open even if the government shuts down, the Department of Interior announced Thursday in a move that could help assuage public anger at Republicans if Congress fails to agree to a budget.

From the Lincoln Memorial to the Grand Canyon, more than 400 National Park Service parks and properties have been the most visible faces of past government shutdowns.

The last time Congress failed to agree on a budget, in 2013, a group of veterans aided by Republican lawmakers ignored barricades at the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., to visit the site. In southeastern Utah, county commissioners decided to reopen Natural Bridges National Monument in act of self-declared civil disobedience.

“We fully expect the government to remain open, however in the event of a shutdown, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures,” Heather Swift, an Interior Department spokeswoman said in a statement.

She noted that some services that require staffing and maintenance, like campgrounds and full-service restrooms, will not operate.

“The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation’s capital will find war memorials and open air parks open to the public,” she said.

Jacque Simon, public policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, said federal workers have not yet been given any instructions about how agencies plan to operate or whom will be sent home if a shutdown occurs. Keeping the parks open, she said, is a smart political move.

“The White House is very conscious of what’s popular and what’s not, and I think one of the memorable images from the last shutdown was World War II veterans who had come to D.C. to visit the then-relatively new World War II Memorial being turned away. It was not a good visual,” she said.

Ms. Simon said a shutdown would be an “economic disaster” for federal employees, and said she is concerned that national parks my remain open by the government paying contractors while sending federal workers on furlough. That, she said, would amount to an illegal privatization of the work force.

“We will be watching that very closely,” she said.

Environmental activists criticized the plan to keep open the national parks, calling it dangerous to visitors as well as illegal under the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1998 that mandates the government can’t spend funds that haven’t been appropriated.

“It’s nothing more than a baldfaced attempt to divert Americans’ attention away from the G.O.P.’s extreme agenda,” Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

— Lisa Friedman

The I.R.S. would take a shutdown hit at a terrible time.

President Trump has warned that a government shutdown could blunt the effect of his tax cuts, and he could have a point.

Tax filing season starts in less than two weeks and if Congress does not reach a funding deal, the Internal Revenue Service, which has been swamped with work trying to implement the new tax law, would take a big hit. That could take a toll on the tax collection agency’s ability to ensure a smooth transition and deal with the tsunami of questions coming from confused taxpayers.

The National Employees Treasury Union said that 87 percent of I.R.S. employees would be sent home in the event of a shutdown.

That comes at a time when the agency was already understaffed, having lost 21,000 full-time employees since 2010 as its budget has dwindled.

— Alan Rappeport

The fault lines over a deal aren’t purely partisan.

While most Republicans in the Senate are likely to vote to keep the government open and most Democrats will oppose that, there are several factions involved. Have a look at who wants what »

Graphic

These Factions in Congress, Split Over ‘Dreamers,’ Could Lead to Government Shutdown

A deal to avoid closing the federal government hinges on Senate Democrats, and some Republicans, who want to include protections for young undocumented immigrants.



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