The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight after a last-ditch vote on a House-passed short-term federal spending plan fell well short in the Senate.
Minutes before the 12 a.m. deadline, the White House released a statement labeling the impasse the “Schumer Shutdown” and laying the blame on Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who failed to reach a last-minute agreement during a meeting with President Trump yesterday afternoon.
“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” the statement read. “We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage of their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.”
Related Story: CNN poll – DACA not worth a shutdown, except to Democrats
Although enough senators voted against a stopgap measure to ensure the closure of all but essential operations nationwide, the Republican-led Senate held the vote open past midnight, seemingly to accommodate numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers away from the chamber’s floor.
The measure failed to gain the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster, with a handful of red-state Democrats crossing the aisle to support the measure and some Republicans voting in opposition.
Democrats insisted that the spending bill include protections for some 700,000 younger immigrants facing deportation. Republicans, who control both Congress and the White House, are now faced with the prospect of being blamed for the fourth shutdown in a quarter-century.
It also threatens to slow any GOP momentum, one month after passage of the party’s signature tax cut law.
The failed vote came hours after Trump summoned Schumer to the White House in the hopes of cutting a deal. But they later emerged from the White House meeting without an agreement.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney later told CNN that “not much has changed” over the course of the day and predicted a deal would be reached by Monday.
In the hours leading up to the vote, Senate Democrats warned they would filibuster a four-week extension, the government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening. They’re seeking an even shorter extension that they think will keep the pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect “dreamer” immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.
The shutdown is the first since 2013, when Tea Party Republicans — in a strategy not unlike the one Schumer is employing now — sought to use a must-pass funding bill to try to force then-President Barack Obama to delay implementation of his marquee health care law.
Even with the government shut down, food inspections, federal law enforcement, airport security checks and other vital services will continue, as will Social Security payments, other federal benefit programs and military operations.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.
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