The Senate didn’t approve a temporary spending bill in a tense standoff late Friday evening — forcing an embarrassing government shutdown on the eve of the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration.
Last-minute negotiations failed because the stopgap funding measure fell well short of the 60 Senate votes needed to maintain the federal government in operation.
The White House shortly laid the blame at the toes of the minority Democratic Party.
“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” the White House stated in an announcement referring to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Schumer shot back on the Senate floor after the vote went down in flames.
“The blame should crash entirely on President Trump’s shoulders,” Schumer stated.
“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 more than President Trump.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) mentioned that he would continue to work on a resolution to end the shutdown, which might have an effect on hundreds of thousands of government staff — including half of the Pentagon’s civilian employees and half the workforce of the Internal Revenue Service.
If no deal is brokered by Monday, staff will be placed on furlough, or short-term unpaid leave.
However, important operations such as military, law enforcement and mail delivery will proceed to function in a diminished capacity.
Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the shutdown.
After hours of closed-door conferences and telephone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan.
It garnered only 50 of the 60 needed to end a Democratic filibuster.
A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to help the measure, rather than take a political risk. Four Republicans voted in opposition.
The failed measure had included a six-year funding extension for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The overwhelming majority of Democrats balked on the measure as a result of it not including a safeguard for the nation’s 700,000 “Dreamers,” who got temporary protection status under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program was repealed by the White House in September and will sunset in March with no congressional agreement.
Senate Republicans, who with the absence of John McCain held a tenuous, one-seat majority, had wanted as many as a dozen Democratic crossover votes to float the four-week stopgap.
The affect of a government shutdown wouldn’t be felt until after federal offices reopen on Monday, leaving Saturday and Sunday for continued negotiations.
Trump was scheduled to attend a lavish fund-raiser at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Saturday evening. That trip was in jeopardy due to the legislative deadlock.
The 2013 shutdown lasted for 16 days as Republicans tried to leverage modifications to ObamaCare.
More than 800,000 federal employees had been placed on short-term unpaid leave, later receiving retroactive pay.