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Rep. G.K. Butterfield is urging congressional Republicans to come to the bargaining table ready to compromise in order to end the government shutdown that took effect at midnight Saturday.
The Democratic Wilson congressman released a 12:50 a.m. statement Saturday blaming GOP lawmakers and President Donald Trump for the shutdown, which was triggered when the Senate failed to approve a continuing resolution to fund the government that had cleared the House.
"Once again, Republicans have shown they are unable to govern," Butterfield said in the prepared statement. "Republicans control the United States House of Representatives. They control the United States Senate. They control the White House. Notwithstanding, we are now some 140 days into the fiscal year, still have no appropriations bill, and now hundreds of thousands of federal employees will wake up to discover that they cannot work or get paid."
For their part, Republicans blame Democrats for the government shutdown, which occurred when Democratic senators led a filibuster of the continuing resolution.
Democratic negotiators insisted on a deal to grant legal status to Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, according to media reports, and refused to vote for a stopgap funding measure without legislation that would replace former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration," Trump tweeted. "Can't let that happen!"
In another tweet, the president noted Republicans have 51 votes in the Senate and need 60 to end a filibuster, calling on Americans to elect more GOP candidates to the House and Senate in 2018.
Butterfield said House Republicans excluded Democrats in the budget resolution drafting process.
"Republicans continue to push a far-right agenda that favors the few at the expense of the many," he said. "No one wins when our politics devolve to the point of a government shutdown. I urge my colleagues across the aisle to stop with the hardline politics and work together to solve our nation's problems through a responsible and reasonable democratic process."
Butterfield said his offices in Wilson, Durham and Washington will remain open during the shutdown. His 1st Congressional District includes eastern Wilson County and much of northeastern North Carolina.
Rep. George Holding, a Raleigh Republican whose 2nd Congressional District includes western Wilson County, had not spoken publicly or released a statement about the shutdown as of Saturday night.