Freshman Democrats confront "sober reality" of shutdown during first week on the job

New House Dems confront "sober reality" of shutdown

Four newly sworn-in Democratic members of Congress expressed frustration with the government shutdown as it entered its third week, with one member telling "Face the Nation" the stalemate is a "national disgrace," and another calling it a "sobering reality" of the state of the country.

Rep. Jahana Hayes, a new Democratic representative from Connecticut, called on her colleagues in Congress to work on a compromise to end the partial shutdown, which has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees working without pay. 

"The government shutdown is a sobering reality of where we are right now. We have to get to work. We cannot keep operating in hard lines," Hayes said on "Face the Nation" Sunday during a panel with three of her new House Democratic colleagues. "We cannot keep saying nobody's willing to move. We have to move. That's why we were elected. That's what we were sent here to do."

Hayes' comments come as efforts to end the shutdown appear to be stalled, with Democrats and the White House accusing each other of being unwilling to give any ground to end the stalemate. The Democratic-controlled House voted this week on two bills to reopen the government, but the bills were dead on arrival in the Senate since they did not include the $5.6 billion President Trump is demanding for border security.

White House aides and Democratic and Republican staffers planned to return to the talks on Sunday, though Mr. Trump told reporters Sunday morning that the shutdown could go on "for a long time."

Hayes was non-committal when asked if she would be open to voting for increased border security beyond the $1.3 billion that Democrats have already agreed to. 

"I think we have to look at the bigger problem of immigration reforming our immigration system, not just a wall," she said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the border wall immoral, saying, "No way, no how, is the president going to get money for it." 

New York Rep. Max Rose, who also appeared on the "Face the Nation" panel, said funding the border wall is a non-starter, dismissing it as a "vanity project — a fifth century solution to a 21st-century problem."

"What, you want to also bring horses back to the United States cavalry? Bring some rowboats to the Navy? We can put Trump's name on it. This is far more serious than just political brinkmanship, OK?" he said.

Texas Rep. Colin Allred said it is important to see what kind of compromise the White House is willing to make. 

"I think it's important to see what's in the package," he said. "I think all of us at this table came to Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion, to get things done. We're trying as hard as we can right now to be bipartisan. We need some bend from the other side as well."

Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey said she did not agree with critics who said the House votes this week were a waste of time.

"I don't think it's a waste of time. We voted on the most bipartisan bill we could vote on, the one that was passed recently by the Senate, within the last month," Sherrill said. "And so I think what we're asking Congress to do is its job, and pass a bill that's going to reopen the government."