U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen disembark the plane upon his arrival at Amman military airport, Jordan, Saturday, Jan 20, 2018. This is the second leg of his Middle East tour that will include Israel. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

The Latest: VP to troops: 'You deserve better' than shutdown

January 21, 2018 - 9:58 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the government shutdown (all times local):

9:55 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is blasting Congress for playing politics with military pay by failing to keep the government open.

Pence told U.S. soldiers stationed near the Syrian border on Sunday: "You deserve better." He says the soldiers and their families "shouldn't have to worry about getting paid."

Pence spoke to troops in the Middle East as Democrats and Republicans in Congress show few signs of progress on negotiations to end the government shutdown.

The vice president says President Donald Trump's administration will will not reopen negotiations "on illegal immigration" until Congress reopens the government and until soldiers and their families receive "the benefits and wages you've earned."

Uniformed service members and law enforcement officers are among the essential government employees who will be working without pay until the federal government reopens.

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9:50 a.m.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul is calling the shutdown blame game "ridiculous on both sides."

The senator from Kentucky said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union": "It's gamesmanship and it's partisanship."

Paul was among a handful of Republicans who voted with most Democrats against the House bill to keep the government open. He says he's opposed to short-term fiscal bills.

Paul called on Republican leadership in both chambers of Congress to commit to a week of debate and a vote on immigration legislation in the next month, to win over Democratic votes to reopen the government.

But Democrats are insisting that long-term funding legislation include protections for roughly 700,000 young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children — not just a vote on their status.

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9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says if the government shutdown drags on, Republicans should consider changing the rules in the Senate to make it easier to pass legislation without votes from Democrats.

But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says that would mean the end of the Senate as the Founding Fathers envisioned it.

The shutdown is now in its second day. Lawmakers are set to return to work on Capitol Hill later Sunday but there's no sign of a possible deal.

The Republican president is floating the idea of doing away with the 60-vote threshold to advance legislation and deny the minority party the chance to stall.

Senate Republicans now hold a 51-49 edge.

Durbin tells ABC's "This Week" that "we have to acknowledge a respect for the minority."

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9:20 a.m.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is defending himself from charges of hypocrisy in his attacks on Democrats over the government shutdown, given his own role at the center of the last fiscal clash in 2013.

Mulvaney said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union: "Everything that was in the bill Democrats support and have voted for previously." He says, "This is pure politics."

Mulvaney was a conservative member of the House in 2013 when a showdown over "Obamacare" funding led to the last shutdown.

Mulvaney reiterated Sunday that the administration won't negotiate with Democrats on immigration or a longer-term spending bill until they vote to reopen the government.

He says, "They need to open the government tonight or tomorrow and then we can start talking."

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12:45 a.m.

Feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress are trying to dodge blame for a paralyzing standoff over immigration and showing few signs of progress on negotiations needed to end a government shutdown.

The finger-pointing played out in both the House and Senate, where lawmakers were eager to show voters they were actively working for a solution — or at least actively making the case the other party was at fault. The scene highlighted political stakes for both parties in an election-year shutdown.

Democrats refused to provide votes needed to reopen government until they strike a deal with President Donald Trump protecting young immigrants from deportation, providing disaster relief and boosting spending for opioid treatment and other domestic programs.

The Senate planned a vote by early Monday on a spending extension.

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