Republicans 'showing flexibility' to end government shutdown: White House official

A White House official said the administration is "making progress."

ByABC News
January 21, 2018, 1:54 PM

— -- The White House's legislative affairs director said Republicans have been "showing flexibility" in their attempts to strike a deal with Democrats on immigration issues in order to reopen the government.

“I think you've seen us move. I think you've seen us move throughout the negotiation on immigration,” White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “This Week” Sunday. “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, George.”

Asked if Republicans and Democrats are close to coming to an agreement to resume funding the government, Short said, "I think we are making progress."

Stephanopoulos played a clip from 2013 of then-citizen Donald Trump weighing in on the government shutdown during the Obama administration, in which Trump said, “You have to get everybody in a room, you have to be a leader, the president has to lead, and you have to be nice and be angry and be wild and cajole and do all sorts of things, but you have to get a deal.”

When Stephanopoulos asked why Trump wasn’t meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Saturday, Short said the president met with a “bipartisan, bicameral group of members that were to discuss exactly these issues.”

In politics, a week is a “lifetime ago,” Stephanopoulos responded.

Short said, "George, what we’re facing right now is Democrats taking an absolutely implausible position that says, 'We’re going to deny funding to 2 million troops who are serving our country, tens of thousands of Border Patrol agents trying to protect our country' ... That is an impossible place from which to negotiate."

He added, “The reality, I think, is that Democrats are forcing this shutdown because they look at what has happened over the last year, and they’re [held] captive by a part of their base. They see the record tax cut, they see the repeal of the individual mandate [for the Affordable Care Act], the rollback of regulations, the record number of Circuit Court judges and the Supreme Court justice confirmed, and they see the president making a difference. And the base of their party is holding them captive.”

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