Senators from both political camps told Hill.tv on Wednesday that they are readying themselves to spend their lawful Christmas vacation in Washington in the event of a government shutdown.
“I've told my wife not to plan on my being home during Christmas and New Year's”, said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), although expressing doubt that a Senate session would take place on Christmas Day.
However, he assumed that there is a 50-50 chance of working the last week of the year, depending on “who blinks”, referring to an ongoing dispute between President Trump and such big congressional names as Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi over funds for a border wall.
Sen. Ted Cruz weighed in the debate, saying he is not certain about the Senate’s prospects for the approaching Christmas season, since both the president and Charles Schumer have an equal right to single-handedly announce a shutdown. Then he went on to refer to Tuesday’s Oval Office “fireworks” between prominent Democratic figures and Trump as “must-see TV”.
Meanwhile, per GOP Sen. John Kennedy, neither side is bluffing, which makes Trump’s promise of a shutdown "as serious as four heart attacks and a stroke”. he also cracked a couple of jokes, saying that first Mrs. Pelosi “won’t give an inch” as she is striving to get back her speakership, which seems more crucial than all the rest of issues in light of a whole array of recent White House resignations.
“If I've learned anything here it's that the thing that most people care about the most is their job”, Kennedy said, adding that if necessary, he’s ready to spend Christmas at work. "I've got a microwave and I'm going to use it to heat up the turkey because I think I'm going to be here”, he said.
During the televised part of the Senate meeting, POTUS vowed to close down 25 percent of the government if Congress fails to approve funds worth $5 billion for building the wall on the Mexican border, with the deadline for the resolution slated for December 21.
Sen. Lindsey Graham hailed the president’s tough stance on the issue, saying he is to a great extent “energized” by the ongoing debate, remarking that Democrats supported similar wall funding under other administrations.
“What's got me so energized here is that we've done in the past more than what the president’s asking for — he's not the bad guy here”, said Graham. A number of Democrats countered the remarks, recalling President Trump’s pre-election promises to derive all the necessary funds from Mexico, so that the contentious wall would cost US taxpayers nothing. “Everyone is in favour of border security — we need strong and secure borders. This is about smart use of taxpayer dollars”, Sen. Chris Van Hollen fired back.