Shelby: Shutdown could last “a long, long time” if sides won’t negotiate

Shelby: Shutdown could last “a long, long time” if sides won’t negotiate

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

Sen. Richard Shelby on Sunday called for an end to the “blame game” over the government shutdown and immigration politics so that an agreement could be reached and Congress could “get on to bigger things.”

During an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Shelby said the shutdown could last a “long, long time” if the two sides failed to negotiate.

“Our negotiations are at an impasse at the moment. I wish it were not so. But we’ve got to move away from the blame game. Blaming the president, blaming the Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer and others, and get back to doing what we’re sent there to do: to fund the government. That’s been my mandate. That’s what we’ve been working hard this year in a bipartisan way on the Appropriations Committee,” Shelby said.

“But right now we’re at a standoff, and I think that’s not good for the Senate, the House, or America. We can do better and we’ve got to figure out a way, Margaret, to get to yes. If we blame each other this could last a long, long time.”

Answering questions from host Margaret Brennan, Shelby said he previous tried to work a compromise between President Trump and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would have funded border security over the next two years.

“I tried to work a deal earlier on where he would get two and a half billion this year and two and a half next year, try to have a compromise.  That didn’t work out,” Shelby said.

“I do believe that the president would like to work to get to yes. I think Senator Schumer, who I worked with for years, would like to fund the government. It’s a question when do we get off the blame game and we get to serious negotiations.

“It’s not a question of who wins or loses. Nobody’s gonna win this kind of game. Nobody wins in a shutdown. We all lose and we kind of look silly.”

When asked about what Republicans might give up to compromise with Democrats, Shelby addressed the changing political dynamics that come with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives.

“After January 3 when the Democrats take control of the House, the political equation will change. You’ll have a Democratic House, a Republican president and a Republican Senate. So we’re gonna have to negotiate.

“I think that we ought to see what do the Democrats really want. Can we do it? And when we reach there, we’ve got to show them that what we want is to secure the borders,” Shelby said.

Read the entire interview transcript on the CBS News Face the Nation website.