Stephanopoulos to Durbin: 'Is It Right to Hold the Government Hostage?'

January 21, 2018

ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) Sunday if it was right for his party to "hold the government hostage" and create "chaos" in the form of the government shutdown.

"But is it right to hold the government hostage?" Stephanopoulos asked Durbin.

The ABC host played a widely shared clip of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) in 2013, when he decried Republican shutdown tactics and said Democrats shutting the government down over immigration reform would be "governmental chaos."

"You know we could do the same thing on immigration," Schumer said at the time. "We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, ‘We’re shutting down the government. We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform.’ It would be governmental chaos."

"So aren't you all creating chaos now?" Stephanopoulos asked.

Durbin said Stephanopoulos had to concede Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.

"In the Senate, though, with a 60-vote margin, there's a need for bipartisanship," Durbin said. "That's all we've asked for. Sit down at the table and let us work this out in a bipartisan fashion."

All but five Senate Democrats voted down a stopgap spending bill Friday passed in the House because it didn't address DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) recipients.

The deadline to keep the government funded expired at midnight on Friday, and since 60 votes were needed to overcome a filibuster, and all but four of the chamber's 51 Republicans voted for the bill, the GOP is calling the bill the "Schumer Shutdown."