Government Shuts Down, Border Wall Keeps Partisan Divide Wide and Deep

Shutdown Imminent: Congress Adjourns Until After Funding Deadline

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Congressional leaders said late Friday there will be no new House or Senate votes on Friday evening, meaning the federal government is heading into a partial shutdown at midnight for the third time in President Donald Trump’s presidency.

by Matthew Boyle

Both the House and the Senate have adjourned until noon on Saturday, ensuring that a partial government shutdown will hit the federal government just days before Christmas as Democrats on Capitol Hill resist funding for border security – particularly a wall.

The impasse comes as President Trump pushes for $5 billion in funding for his planned border wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and Democrats are opposed to funding the wall.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday evening passed a bill that fully funds the federal government through Feb. 8, 2019, at the beginning of the new Congress when Democrats take over control of Congress’s lower chamber the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Thursday, as all indications were that the White House and President Trump were going to go for that deal, outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan had planned to announce at a press conference on Capitol Hill that the House would pass the Senate-passed continuing resolution–which has zero dollars for Trump’s border wall–something they would need Democrat votes to accomplish.

But, under criticism from top conservative leaders, Trump reversed course and made an emergency phone call to Ryan to tell him he would not sign any bill that does not provide funding for the wall. After that, the House passed a new continuing resolution that contained  $5.7 billion in border wall money, as well as several billion dollars in disaster relief funds late Thursday.

On Friday, the Senate–after keeping the vote open for hours while senators negotiated–finally voted to approve the motion to proceed onto the bill that the House passed. But senators still do not have enough votes to pass the House-passed bill that funds the wall.

Vice President Mike Pence, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and senior White House adviser Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner joined congressional leaders on Capitol Hill late Friday in an 11th-hour bid to get a deal. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, back in the West Wing, told a CNN reporter that he thought a deal was likely, but – as of just over four hours until the shutdown deadline – a deal has remained elusive and congressional leaders have given up on reaching one before midnight.

The House is out of session on Friday evening, and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said there will not be new Senate votes on Friday night–meaning the government is headed to a partial shutdown at midnight. It is unclear how long the shutdown will last, but at this point, barring some unforeseen circumstances, it appears certain that a shutdown is happening.

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