×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shutdown Set to Begin as Senate Fails to Reach Funding Deal

WASHINGTON — The federal government officially ran out of funding at midnight on Saturday, passing a deadline to avert a shutdown after the Senate failed to pass a short-term spending bill.

A late Friday evening Senate vote on a House funding bill failed to garner 60 votes needed. But the vote was held open for more than two hours, as senators of both parties were huddled in unusual feverish talks to try to strike a deal. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) went back and forth from groups of Democrats and Republicans, as reporters in the press gallery watched in amazement at the scene unfolding.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally called for the vote to be read. It was 50 to 49.

“What we have just witnessed on the floor was a cynical decision by Senate Democrats to shove aside millions of Americans for the sake of irresponsible political games,” McConnell said after the vote. He vowed to return it to the floor later on Saturday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded, “Every American knows the Republican Party controls the White House, the Senate, the House. It’s their job to keep the government open. It’s their job to work with us on a way to move things forward.”

If the shutdown lasts beyond the weekend, hundreds of thousands of government employees may be furloughed and agencies closed.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) floated the idea of a three-week spending bill to Feb. 8, which is just the type of temporary solution that he has opposed. But he said that “we are inside the 10-yard line” on issues like providing protection for Dreamers, military spending and children’s health insurance funding.

But Democrats, coming out of their own caucus meeting, appeared to reject that as a solution. Graham ultimately sided with the Democrats in voting against the House funding bill, along with Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) voted in favor of it.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Democrats “obstructionist losers.”

With just over two hours to the deadline, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet that a shutdown was the way things were heading.

“Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border,” he wrote. “Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy.”

The shutdown at midnight would coincide with the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, and he canceled a plans to  travel to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., where he was to attend a celebration on Saturday evening. It was the first government shutdown while one party controlled the White House and two chambers of Congress.

Democrats have been adamant about rejecting a funding deal that does not address the Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were children. They blame not just congressional Republican leadership, but Trump for rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal after initially indicating that he would be receptive to it.

Republicans included in their spending bill a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but Democrats called that inclusion of that provision a cynical effort to garner their votes without addressing the issue of DACA.

The shutdown’s impact on the entertainment industry not be as great as it was in the last one, in 2013, when the federal government closed for 16 days. Back then, the closure of national parks forced producers to reschedule location shoots. In that shutdown, the FCC all but closed except for essential services. This time around, the agency said it has contingency funding until the end of the day on Jan. 26. On Friday, a federal judge in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner said that he was unlikely to reject any motion that would delay the case.

What was odd on Friday was how, hours before the vote, the Capitol was strangely serene, hardly the hub of activity seen on other days and certainly not when a shutdown is looming. Schumer went to the White House to meet with Trump earlier in the day. He said that he even put the issue of a border wall on the table, and it looked as if they were headed for some kind of a deal, but the president backed away from it.

Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal,” Schumer said.

“Here we are on the eve of what might have to be the shutdown of the United States government,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). “And let’s be clear about something else. This is about a group that is more interested in protecting their power than about protecting their people.”

 

More Politics

  • Department of Justice

    DOJ: Gray TV-Raycom Media Merger Can Move Forward if Overlapping Stations Are Sold

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has given the go ahead to Gray Television’s $3.6 billion merger with Raycom Media on the condition that stations be sold in nine markets. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division said it had reached a settlement in which Gray would sell stations in the markets where they would otherwise own two or [...]

  • Mick Mulvaney Chief of Staff

    Mick Mulvaney Will Serve as Acting Chief of Staff, Trump Says

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Mick Mulvaney will serve as his acting chief of staff after the departure of John Kelly at the end of the year. Mulvaney is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Trump has said he was talking to a number of candidates for the position, but [...]

  • Michael Cohen

    Michael Cohen: Trump Knew Hush Money Payments Were Wrong

    WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen claims that Donald Trump knew that hush money payments made to two women in advance of the 2016 election were wrong. Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” for his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison, Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, said that when payments were being arranged for [...]

  • Trump Jim Acosta CNN White House

    The Gradual Disappearing Act of the White House Daily Press Briefing

    WASHINGTON — The Trump White House has dropped an event that used to be a prized invite for journalists and their families in D.C.: A holiday party for the media. But another tradition has been disappearing from the West Wing agenda as well: the daily press briefing. The regular televised afternoon back and forth between [...]

  • Nexstar Logo

    Nexstar Settles With Justice Department Over Sharing of Ad Information

    WASHINGTON — Nexstar Media Group, which recently announced plans to acquire Tribune Media and become the largest owner of TV stations in the country, has settled with the Justice Department as it investigates broadcasters’ sharing of competitive advertising rate information with rivals. Six other station groups, including Tribune Media, reached a settlement with the DOJ [...]

  • Donald Trump

    National Enquirer Parent Admits to Making Karen McDougal Payments to Help Trump in 2016 Election

    WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors said National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, admitted that it made a $150,000 payment to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal “to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations” about Donald Trump in advance of the 2016 presidential election. AMI’s admission could bolster any case prosecutors make against Trump for violating [...]

  • Ajit Pai

    FCC to Launch Review of Media Ownership Rules, Including Ban on Broadcast Network Mergers

    WASHINGTON — The FCC will review whether to modify or even eliminate a series of media ownership proposals, including a current ban on mergers among the four major broadcast networks. The review, mandated by Congress every four years, includes no specific policy proposals, but will take public comment on whether changes are warranted. The FCC will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content