Shutdown Imminent: Congress Adjourns Until After Funding Deadline

The Capitol is seen at day's end as the Senate works on a House-passed bill that would pay
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.

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.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on his way out for the evening that “constructive talks are underway” but that to avert a shutdown, a presidential signature and Democrat votes are needed:

Pence, the Vice President, was one of the last U.S. officials left in the Capitol:

Trump, for his part, is spending the night tweeting about designs for his border wall:

Trump also earlier in the day pinned the blame for the shutdown on the Democrats:

Meanwhile, House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi–who is likely to retake the Speaker’s gavel on Jan. 3 when the new Congress with a Democrat House majority takes over–is bashing Trump for the shutdown:

…As is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

It is unclear how long the shutdown will last, but the U.S. House is adjourned until noon on Saturday–and GOP leaders have said they will give 24 hours notice before any new votes:

The Senate adjourned until noon on Saturday as well:

The Senate reportedly has a similar 24-hour notice before any votes commitment:

The first two days of this partial government shutdown will be weekend days–Saturday and Sunday–and if it lasts longer, Monday is Christmas Eve and Tuesday is Christmas. After Christmas, there are just a few extra days at the end of next week before New Years weekend. Two days after New Years Day, on Jan. 3, the new Democrat majority takes over in the House. That means that the Democrats take over a week from Thursday, so time is limited for Trump and congressional Republicans to use the last remaining days of the House GOP majority to extract a deal from Senate Democrats.

Technically, any vote requires 60 votes in the Senate under current rules. Despite a push earlier on Friday from Trump to get McConnell to change the Senatte rules, the so-called “nuclear option,” a number of GOP senators issued statements saying they would oppose such a change.

At the forefront of the negotiations on this matter on Capitol Hill on Friday have been House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

It is also unclear at this time what exactly are the specifics of any potential deal being discussed:


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