The Note: Shutdown drives parties to political corners

Will lawmakers emerge from this fight even more dug in on party lines?

A shutdown without a clear purpose or direction might end up taking things backwards.

The stop-and-start negotiations – if that’s what they should be called – that dotted the weekend could yet yield a deal that puts the federal government’s lights back on soon. But they would be illuminating the same problems that led to this moment.

It’s possible if not probable that lawmakers emerge from this fight even more dug in on party lines. No one thinks they are losing, because everyone seems to think they are winning the broader arguments to a public that may judge all involved harshly.

A temporary spending deal could mark a slight improvement to the overall political landscape. But if the shutdown lingers further into the work week, the divisions ahead could wind up looking far worse.

President Donald Trump was supposed to be a different kind of leader, and a dealmaker to boot. This shutdown has tethered the Republican Party closer to him – and to his 36 percent approval rating, in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

There’s been an awful lot of talk about which party will bear the brunt of the blame for this shutdown, when in fact it’s likely anyone associated with Washington will lose big time.

These showdowns and late-night, post-deadline dealings reinforce frustrations voters already have about elected officials. It is easy to see how last week could inspire a desire for anyone new.

Over the last few cycles, Republicans have benefited from anti-establishment fervor, culminating in the outsider, businessman Donald Trump. But in the last year, in local elections around the country, Democrats have started to find their own gatecrasher candidates.

On Saturday, the eleven Democratic women who won seats in the Virginia statehouse were ceremonially sworn into office. They were not only an ethnically and socially diverse group of women, they also came from a wide-range of professional backgrounds: a nurse, an immigration activist, a cyber-security specialist, a journalist.

It’s looking more and more like a new Democratic version of the Tea Party is emerging. Democrats are finding a new bench motivated by and tapping into distrust of the status quo.

The TIP with Meridith McGraw and Jordyn Phelps

The White House hit back against Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., last night, calling him an "outlier" on immigration after he criticized Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to President Donald Trump, earlier in the day.

"As long as Senator Graham chooses to support legislation that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully instead of our own American citizens, we are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years," said White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley.

Graham said the president is not being well-served by staff amid immigration negotiations this week. ABC's David Wright asked Graham if he meant Miller, a long time hardliner on immigration and close adviser on the issue to Trump.

"I'll just tell you his view of immigration has never been in the mainstream of the Senate," said Graham. "And I think we're never going to get there as long as we embrace concepts that cannot possibly get 60 votes."


  • Today is the first weekday of the 2018 government shutdown. At noon, the Senate is set to vote on ending debate and proceeding on a proposal to fund the government through Feb. 8 and the House will return to the Hill to await action in the upper chamber.
  • President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled today.
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is on ABC’s “Good Morning America” today. She holds a press briefing at the White House at 1:30 p.m. ET today.
  • During this past weekend's unrest in the nation’s capital, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to various countries in the Middle East for a trip initially scheduled before for the tax reform vote. Today, he’s in Israel and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson departs for a trip that eventually takes him to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Today, he’s in London meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, among others.

    Late Sunday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took the Senate floor to discuss the government shutdown. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how they view the state of play.

    McConnell: “The shutdown should stop today. And we'll soon have a vote that will allow us to do exactly that. So let's step back from the brink, let’s stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.”

    In response, Schumer said: “I am happy to continue my discussion with the majority leader about reopening the government. We've had several conversations, talks will continue. But we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable for both sides. For that reason, I object.”


    Shutdown enters third day as bipartisan group of senators tries to broker compromise. A government shutdown is entering a third day - into the start of the work week Monday - after a bipartisan group of about 20 senators struggled Sunday to broker a government funding compromise. (Halimah Abdullah, Benjamin Siegel, Mariam Khan and Bill Hutchinson)

    Democrats solidify their lead in midterm elections matchup (POLL). Democrats have solidified their position in the November midterm elections in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, maintaining a 12-point lead among registered voters while improving to a wide 14-point advantage among likely voters in congressional preference. (Sofi Sinozich)

    Trump willing to support legal status for 'Dreamers' in exchange for border wall: White House sources. Sources inside the White House tell ABC News that the president has expressed a willingness to support legal status for 'Dreamers' in exchange for full funding of his border wall at a cost of about $20 billion over seven years. (Jonathan Karl)

    Here's how a government shutdown could affect you. It's the ultimate paradox: Congress still gets paid. Salaries for members of the House and Senate are written into permanent law. (ABC News)

    Shutdown prevents families of soldiers killed in Apache crash from receiving death benefit. The families of two Army soldiers killed early Saturday morning when their Apache helicopter crashed in California will not receive the $100,000 death benefit they are entitled to because of the federal government shutdown. (Luis Martinez)

    Women's March brings out hundreds of thousands across US as Trump tweets in response. Jamie Williams, originally from Alabama, brought her 7-year-old son, James, to march with her in Manhattan. "I want him to be exposed to this," Williams told ABC News. "I also bring him with me every time I vote, so the vote counts for both of us." (Amanda Maile and Morgan Winsor)

    ANALYSIS: A year into Trump's presidency, Democrats have visions of 2020. The 2020 presidential race, in many ways, started the day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, flooded the nation’s capital and took to streets around the country to deliver a rebuttal to his inauguration. With Democratic party officials still largely shell-shocked from their surprise defeat, the grassroots swelled and seemed to say, “We got this.” (MaryAlice Parks)

    Amid record low one-year approval rating, half of Americans question Trump’s mental stability: Poll. A year in the presidential spotlight hasn’t been kind to President Donald Trump: His approval rating is the lowest in modern polling for a president at this point, with deep deficits on policy and personal matters alike. Strikingly, the public divides evenly on whether or not he’s mentally stable. (Gary Langer)

    ANALYSIS: Trump had a rough 1st year. That’s where his similarity to Lincoln ends. A horrible first year for one of the nation’s greatest presidents might serve as a source of inspiration for Donald Trump who’s had his own rocky start —except. Except just about everything. (Cokie Roberts)

    Eric Trump on government shutdown: 'Honestly, I think it's a good thing for us.' he views it in a positive light because he believes it paints the "absolutely terrified" Democrats in a negative light. (David Caplan)

    New Trump campaign ad calling Democrats 'complicit' in murder by undocumented immigrants won't work: Senator. "The American people are not going to accept the premise that immigrants are criminals and that we ought to deport the 'Dreamers,'" Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday about an ad posted Saturday night to Trump's campaign website and YouTube page.” (Adam Kelsey and Quinn Scanlan)

    Republicans 'showing flexibility' to end government shutdown: White House official. “We have been yielding; we have been showing flexibility to say, ‘Let's find a deal to make sure that, again, our troops and our Border Patrol agents are not denied payment, but the Democrats seem unwilling to even accept that offer,” White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “This Week” Sunday. (Quinn Scanlan)

    'I say pay it' to get deal for 'Dreamers': Democrat says of Trump's border wall. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, likened the president’s demands for a border wall to holding the "Dreamers" hostage. And, he predicted that Republicans would suffer in the midterm elections as a result. (Quinn Scanlan)

    Four former White House reporters who all played roles in breaking the story on President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky take a look back, 20 years later, in a podcast from Politico.

    Another life-in-the-White-House book is about to drop, according to the Washington Post. The new book, “Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And The War Over The Truth,” is written by Fox News 'Media Buzz' host Howard Kurtz and offers a portrait of a White House riven by chaos.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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