White House voicemail message on public hotline blames Democrats for government shutdown

White House voicemail message on public hotline blames Democrats for government shutdown
The White House public hotline says it isn’t accepting calls during the government shutdown. The message goes on to say the shutdown was caused by Democrats. (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

The White House has updated its voicemail intro for its public hotline to say that it isn’t accepting calls during the government shutdown. The message goes on to say the shutdown was caused by Democrats, who are holding the budget “hostage” over an “unrelated immigration issue.”

“Thank you for calling the White House,” the message begins. “Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate,” a female voice on the recording says.

The message continues: “Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down. In the meantime, you can leave a comment for the president at www.whitehouse.gov/contact. We look forward to taking your calls as soon as the government reopens.”

After the recording ends, the phone line disconnects.

Is any end in sight?

The government shutdown entered its second day on Sunday, with no indication of a quick resolution in sight. Republicans and Democrats continue to blame the other party for causing the shutdown.

At the heart of the issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Democrats say they will approve a budget if assurances are given that DACA will continue. But Republicans don’t want the budget approval to hinge on DACA.

Under DACA, children who came into the U.S. as minors were eligible for deferred action on deportation and a work permit. About 800,000 individuals fall under DACA, according to a variety of published reports. They are often referred to as “Dreamers.” The provision was established by the Obama administration, and it was rescinded by the Trump administration in September 2017.

The following video plays the phone recording in its entirety.