By: Earnest Jones | 01-20-2018 | News
Photo credit: Shawn Thew, EPA-EFE

Congress Fails to Agree on Spending Bill - Government Enters Partial Shutdown Mode

All non-essential functions were ceased by the federal government on Saturday morning as President Trump failed to reach a deal with Senate Democrats.

White House issued a blustery statement blasting Senate Democrats as "obstructionist losers" and singling out Trump nemesis Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader.

"Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens' hostage over their reckless demands."

Vice President Pence also expressed his displeasure and blamed Democrats for the shutdown.

"Rather than solve problems, Democratic leadership preferred a shutdown that has dangerous consequences for our national defense," said Pence in a statement, adding: "Their action tonight – or lack thereof – is unconscionable."

It turns out that the White House was preparing for at least a weekend-long partial government shutdown Friday night as it became increasingly clear that the Senate could not reach the 60-vote threshold to prevent a Democratic filibuster and approve a House funding measure.

"Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border," Trump said on Twitter, just before a Senate procedural vote that would fall 10 votes short.

Trump canceled a scheduled trip to his Palm Beach resort on Friday as he met with the top Senate Democrat to try to forge a deal to keep the government open past a midnight deadline.

"He's not leaving until this is finished," said Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director. The mandatory spending like Social Security and disaster relief will continue, as they have in past shutdowns. Military troops, police and other essential workers would also continue, but their pay could be held up if the shutdown lasts more than a week.

Even federal workers told not to report to work would likely be paid eventually — Congress has historically voted to pay them retroactively.

But Mulvaney said the Trump administration also looked for ways to find other sources of funds to legally keep operations going.

"We want to make folks understand that it will look very different than it did under the previous administration," Mulvaney said. "The Obama administration weaponized the shutdown in 2013."

Trump invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to the Oval Office Friday for negotiations. Senate Democrats sought provisions to allow immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to remain in the country.

The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for coordinating and enforcing a shutdown, which will send all non-essential federal workers home unless they're funded outside the annual appropriations process.

The White House itself, as a constitutional office, would remain open for business. All presidential appointees would remain on the job, with 152 of 371 West Wing employees reporting for duty. In the executive residence, 21 of the 77 employees who help run the mansion would report to work.


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