Partial Government Shutdown Appears Likely as US House Adjourns
As U.S. Senate leaders continued negotiating funding for border security measures, a partial government shutdown seemed all but assured as the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned late Friday.
Lawmakers have until midnight in Washington to enact a spending bill or portions of the federal government will close.
But with the House voting to adjourn until noon Saturday, it appeared that operations for about a quarter of the government would cease early Saturday, meaning more than 800,000 federal employees' jobs would be disrupted, and more than half of those employees would be required to work without pay.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that while talks were continuing among lawmakers and with the White House, no deal on a spending bill had yet been reached to avert the problem.
Earlier Friday, the Senate had voted to advance a House-passed bill that included $5 billion for President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall. The procedural vote gave the Senate "flexibility" to continue negotiating, McConnell said.
Senate leaders gave no time for a vote on a spending bill, with leaders saying a vote would occur only when a deal had been reached.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told The Washington Post that Democrats were open to discussions but would not agree to any new funding for a border wall.
On Thursday, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill that included billions for Trump's proposed wall along the southern U.S. border.
After previously saying he would "proudly" accept responsibility for a partial U.S. government shutdown if Congress did not pass legislation that included funding for his proposed border wall, Trump early Friday tweeted, "The Democrats now own the shutdown!"
Friday afternoon he tweeted, "If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last a very long time."
Later Friday at the White House, Trump doubled down on his 11th-hour effort to blame the impending shutdown on Democratic lawmakers.
In an attempt to bolster the slim chances of the measure's passage in the Senate, Trump summoned Senate Republicans to the White House Friday morning to discuss the bill and border security.
Trump repeatedly has demanded funds to build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and he told House Republican leaders before Thursday's vote he would not sign a bill approved by the Senate that did not include funding for the wall.
Schumer told colleagues Friday on the Senate floor that Trump was making unilateral decisions that were creating chaos throughout the world.
"All of this turmoil is causing chaos in the markets, chaos abroad, and it's making the United States less prosperous and less secure," Schumer said. "There are not the votes in the Senate for an expensive taxpayer-funded border wall. So President Trump, you will not get your wall. Abandon your shutdown strategy. You're not getting your wall today, next week or on January 3rd, when Democrats take control of the House."
McConnell argued for the wall's funding, saying, "The need for greater security on our southern border is not some partisan invention. It's an empirical fact and the need is only growing."