Gov’t Shutdown Deadline Passes With No Funding Deal In Place

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Updated 12 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 

The deadline to pass new funding to keep the federal government open passed Friday night without a deal in place, marking the beginning of at least a temporary shutdown.

Nearly every Senate Democrat and a handful of Republicans voted to filibuster legislation that would have averted a government shutdown late Friday evening, after hours of backroom negotiations failed to produce a deal.

More than an hour after the vote was called on to advance a temporary four-week House spending bill, it remained open past midnight as senators continued to huddle in large scrums and Leader Majority McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) left the floor together for period.

When the vote was finally gaveled to a close early Saturday morning, it fell well short of the 60-vote threshold necessary to bring the legislation to the floor. Forty-nine lawmakers, including five Republicans, voted against it. McConnell cast a no vote for procedural reasons.

“This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a strongly worded statement issued just before midnight.

The current impasse is over Democrats’ and some Republicans’ objections to Congress’ failure to come to an agreement on legislation to continue the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that Trump rescinded, which protects from deportation young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The government shutdown comes just as President Trump’s presidency turns one year old, with the funding running out at midnight. McConnell indicated that the next step would to be to offer a spending bill that would reopen the government through February 8 — a date that Sen. Lindsay Graham, who voted against the House bill, had been pitching. Democrats had asked for a much shorter spending bill — one that would last  just a few days — to put pressure on lawmakers to come to a deal on DACA.

 

In a floor speech after the vote on the four-week House bill failed, McConnell railed against Democrats for shoving “aside millions of Americans for the sake of irresponsible political games” and mocked Schumer’s shut-down strategy, which he said “perplexed” him.

“The government shutdown was 100 percent avoidable,” he said.

He read aloud the statement that was released by the White House on the shutdown and stressed that the White House had signaled it would not negotiate on DACA until the government was reopened.

“How does this get [Democrats] what they are looking for?” McConnell said.

Schumer, meanwhile, blamed Trump for the shutdown. He said that the President rejected bipartisan deals that Democrats had offered — including an offer Friday afternoon that put the border wall on the table.

“All this problem is because Republican leadership can’t yes, because the President refuses to,” Schumer said.

Graham and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Mike Lee (R-UT) joined Democrats in filibustering the bill passed by the House Thursday that would have funded the government for a month, while Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), Doug Jones (AL), Heidi Heitkamp (NE), Claire McCaskill (MO) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) supported advancing the House bill. The House legislation would have also reauthorized for six years the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which Republicans allowed to lapse more than 100 days ago.

In the lead-up to Friday’s vote, the Capitol was eerily quiet, besides the hordes of reporters looking for updates on negotiations.

Around 1 p.m. ET, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) traveled to the White House for a meeting with Trump to discuss a way out. Schumer said that he and the President “made some progress” but that they still had ” a good number of disagreements.”

Over at the White House, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney struck an optimistic note, telling reporters earlier Friday evening that “there’s a really good chance it gets fixed” before government offices open on Monday, according to the White House pool.

The last government shutdown happened in 2013, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other conservatives sought unsuccessfully to defund the Affordable Care Act. If the government shuts down Friday night, it will be the first shutdown in the modern era to happen when a single party controls both chambers of Congress and the presidency.

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