- After the Senate failed to pass a funding bill Friday night, the federal government is now in a partial shutdown.
- The two parties in the Senate failed to reach an agreement on immigration, funding, healthcare, or the timing of a government funding extension.
- The Senate reconvened at 12 p.m. ET Saturday to continue their work, while the House was on standby in case a bill passes that needs another vote. They will both reconvene Sunday.
- No deal has been reached.
The federal government entered into its first partial shutdown in more than four years Saturday after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill late Friday night.
Deliberations between the Democratic and Republican party leaderships are ongoing in an attempt to reopen the government, but the two sides spent much of Saturday engaged in a nasty blame game over the funding fight.
It was unclear how close the parties were to a deal. Both the House and Senate are reconvened on Saturday to continue their work, but little progress appeared to be made.
“This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown,” President Donald Trump tweeted early Saturday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are left locked out of their jobs and unsure of when their next paycheck will arrive.
What happened Friday night
Shortly after midnight, the Office of Management and Budget sent a memo to federal agencies directing them to initiate contingency plans due to the Senate’s failure to pass a bill funding the government.
This officially kicked off the government shutdown – and was also the culmination of a wild day of negotiations.
Democrats held a significant number of the cards in the shutdown fight since the House-passed funding legislation – known as a continuing resolution (CR) – needed 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked throughout the day to try and come to an agreement on a range of issues and avoid the shutdown. In the end, no deal ever came.
Schumer went to the White House to negotiate a deal with Trump directly. According to Schumer, the two men agreed to a wide-ranging deal on everything from immigration to military funding.
The deal included funding for Trump’s border wall, Schumer said in exchange for the codification of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which protects from deportation roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as minors from deportation, was the key sticking point for Democrats.
Trump announced that he would end the program in September, but gave Congress until March to codify it into law. Democrats attempted to force a vote on the DACA issue as part of a funding deal to increase its chances of passage.
Despite reaching a deal, Schumer said Trump and the GOP reneged on the offer soon after the Democrat returned to Congress.
With the Trump-Schumer deal dead, Democrats and many Republicans scrambled to agree to a shorter-term CR than the one offered by the House. The House bill extended the shutdown deadline until February 16, and Democrats wanted a bill that would keep the government open for five days in order to get a deal on DACA and more.
Republicans countered with a delay until February 8, which Democrats rejected. In the end no deal was reached, most Democrats and a handful of Republicans rejected the House bill, and the shutdown began.
Work to reopen the government began almost as soon as the funding lapsed, with lawmakers from both parties conferring on the Senate floor about a deal until after 1 a.m. ET.
With no agreement in place, the Senate reconvened at noon ET but made little progress. Democrats attempted a series of parliamentary tactics to force votes on measures that would have funded pay for the military during the shutdown, funded the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and ensured furloughed employees were given back pay. McConnell rebuffed those attempts.
Members from both parties seemed open to a new funding bill with a February 8 deadline, and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham – who voted against the House-passed CR – was optimistic Saturday morning.
“After extensive discussions with senators on both sides of the aisle, I believe such a proposal would pass if there was a commitment that after February 8th the Senate would move to an immigration debate with an open amendment process if no alternative agreement was reached with the White House and House of Representatives,” Graham said in a statement.
Any deal that makes changes to the House-passed funding measure would require a new vote on changes by the House.
Anticipating a new deal, the House leaderships told their members to stay close for the weekend, and the chamber was set to be in session Saturday. The House voted on a rule change to allow any bill sent down by the Senate to be considered on the same day, thus expediting the process when the deadlock is finally broken.
While the two sides attempted to work toward a deal, leaders from each party are also hurled insults and blamed the other for the current predicament.
Trump took to his usual platform of Twitter on Saturday morning to sarcastically thank Democrats for the shutdown. Vice President Mike Pence and McConnell launched their own attacks on Saturday, pointing the finger the Democrats for shutting down the government over illegal immigration.
Democrats, on the other hand, pointed out that this was the first time that a government has shut down and sent employees on furlough in the modern budget era when one party controls the House, Senate, and White House. Republicans countered by noting that Democrats were needed to get the Senate bill past a filibuster.
Democrats also said a larger deal could have been possible if not for Trump, whom Schumer blamed for the dysfunction.
“This will be called the Trump shutdown,” Schumer said. “This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in other than President Trump.”
Negotiating with Trump, Schumer said, was liking doing so with “Jello.’
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