Durbin: 'Can't say that we're close' to ending government shutdown

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday said that the end of the ongoing partial government shutdown is not close, blaming President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE for his forecast.

“I can’t say that we’re close because the president has made it clear he doesn’t care," Durbin said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"He’s prepared to see a shutdown for months and even said years and reaffirmed that before the cameras. It was stunning to hear a president of the United States say that about his own government, a government we elected him to lead. But that is his position,” he added.

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Trump last week said he "absolutely" told Democrats during a meeting to negotiate the shutdown that he was willing to possibly keep the government partially closed for years.

The partial shutdown, which is now in its third week, was prompted because lawmakers have been at odds over Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border. 

Durbin on Sunday also called for more participation from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees next week Taiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress MORE (R-Ky.) in negotiations to end the shutdown, accusing him of standing "on the sidelines."

"He’s said he’s going to stand on the sidelines and wait for instructions from the president," Durbin said. "He is part of a branch of government and a leader in the Senate. He should be a participant in this conversation."