Democrats Who Don't Want the Government to Shut Down Vote to Shut Down the Government

February 5, 2018

Democratic lawmakers who claimed they did not want a government shutdown voted to shut down the government.

"Who wants to shut down the government? I don't want to shut down the government," said former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.).

"Let's be very blunt. There is no such thing as a good shutdown," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said.

"The government should not be shut down," Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) argued.

"I didn't run for the Senate to shut down the government," Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) added.

All four senators, along with all but five Senate Democrats, voted against a continuing resolution last month to fund the government, resulting in a government shutdown for three days.

Sanders, Blumenthal, Coons, and Durbin all defended their votes after the shutdown began.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) said last week on the "Pod Save America" podcast, hosted by former communications aides to President Barack Obama, that Senate Democrats have options other than shutting down the government to use as leverage in negotiations with Republicans. He also said he had mixed feelings about shutting down the government because Democrats believe government does good things.

Newly appointed Democratic Sen. Tina Smith (Minn.) blamed President Donald Trump for the shutdown on CNN as the network chyron noted that she voted "no" on the continuing resolution to fund the government.

"I think it is important to realize that the only person who seems to want a government shutdown is the president," Smith said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) appeared to admit that Democrats were somewhat responsible for the government shutdown. After the government reopened, Schumer, who struck a deal with Republicans on a short-term funding bill, said the Democratic caucus in the Senate did not want to continue the shutdown and worried about public opinion turning against them if the shutdown continued.

"Us in the Democratic caucus—not just the moderates, but the liberals as well—came to the view that if we carried it on much longer, two things would happen: A, no one would budge. The public would lose support of the shutdown," Schumer said in an interview on MSNBC.