Although there may be enough "blame" to go around, the Republicans' control of Congress and the White House earns them the greatest responsibility in this shutdown debacle ["Sides cast bitter blame over shutdown impasse," front page, Jan. 21]. In a Congress where votes from both parties are required under most circumstances to push legislation forward, compromise has to be the name of the game. Additionally, the reluctance of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow their colleagues to vote on any proposed legislation stifles the process and distorts representative government.

The result is well-earned gridlock, empowered by vacillation and name-calling from the White House, where President Trump fiddles while Rome burns.

Raymond Coleman, Potomac

What makes this government shutdown unique is not the incompetence of the Republican administration and Republican-controlled Congress to govern, although that is manifest. It is that never before has a government shutdown been impelled by naked prejudice at the highest levels of power.

W. Luther Jett, Washington Grove

We share Americans' scorn for Congress's dysfunction and concern regarding the harm that this unnecessary government shutdown may have caused the service members, civil servants and federal contractors who keep our government running and our nation safe. Few states have been harmed more by the cycle of brinkmanship than Virginia. That's why we opposed yet another stopgap measure on Friday and why for months we raised concerns over President Trump's calls for a government shutdown. And it's why we worked with a bipartisan group of senators to end the shutdown and begin to break the damaging cycle that got us here.

Our request for the president and Republicans in Congress was simple: Let us finally build a bipartisan, long-term budget deal to provide certainty to our military and the federal workforce and protect kids' health care as well as "dreamers." That's why we could not rubber stamp yet another one-month Band-aid that ignored our nation's challenges.

We agree government shutdowns are harmful and counterproductive. That's why we both supported a very short funding measure to keep the government open for three days while negotiations were underway, which would have prevented the shutdown over the weekend. Now there's bipartisan agreement around a path forward. And, for the first time in years, we have the opportunity to pass the long-term funding deal our military and federal workers deserve.

Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, Washington

The writers, both Democrats,
represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

Regarding the Jan. 21 front-page article "How Trump's shifting stance sank deal's chance":

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) let the cat out of the bag at the end of the vote on the continuing resolution leading to the government shutdown. Without Democratic intervention, there would not be the Children's Health Insurance Program for about 9 million children. Republicans can provide billions in tax reductions for their donors, but they must be dragged by Democratic pressure into supporting needy children.

Mr. McConnell blasted Democrats for not supporting a travesty of a budget bill, but he failed to state that Democrats had little or no part in developing the legislation. Cooperation was common during my 14 years as a senior House staff member and 10 years as a White House staff member for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Further, depending on a promise from President Trump for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? Given his record, forget it. I worked closely with Republicans who could be trusted, mostly, in those days.

William G. Wells Jr., McLean