Ryan Blasts Senate Democrats for Government Shutdown: ‘This Is Utter Madness’


House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) lit into Senate Democrats on Saturday, blaming them for the "needless" government shutdown that he called "utter madness."

"One party in one house of this Congress is deliberately holding our government hostage," Ryan said.

An irate-sounding Ryan said on the House floor that the shutdown was pointless but it was important to dissect why it happened.

The GOP-controlled House passed a spending bill Thursday to fund the government through Feb. 16, which also included an extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

However, all but five Senate Democrats voted against the bill Friday night, effectively guaranteeing a shutdown since 60 votes were needed to overcome a filibuster—Republicans hold a slim majority with 51 seats, and all but four of them voted for the bill.

"We did our job, but Senate Democrats simply refused to do theirs," Ryan said.

Democrats largely held the line since it didn't address the fate of "Dreamers," the immigrants brought to the country illegally as children who were shielded from deportation by President Barack Obama's 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) executive order.

President Donald Trump rescinded DACA in September, giving Congress until March to find a legal solution.

"There is no reason for this shutdown," Ryan said. "We have been and we continue to be willing to work together in good faith on immigration, but that deadline is weeks away."

Ryan said Democrats had no issues with anything in the spending bill, such as funding the military, funding for national parks, or CHIP.

"They opposed a bill they don't even oppose!" Ryan said. "We do some crazy things in Washington, but this is utter madness."

The White House has already stated it will not negotiate on immigration until Democrats reopen the government, and Ryan also criticized the Democrats' position.

He quoted Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) during the last government shutdown in 2013, when the Senate Minority Leader said that even passion about one issue shouldn't lead to holding millions of people hostage.

"He was right! You shouldn't!" Ryan said.

Republicans have dubbed the latest impasse the #SchumerShutdown, while Schumer and the Democrats lay the blame on Trump and the Republicans.

"Senate Democrats shut down this government, and now Senate Democrats need to open this government back up," Ryan said. "End this reckless shutdown that is inflicting needless uncertainty on our country. Let common sense and cooler heads prevail. Come to your senses. Do the right thing."

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