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Government set to shutdown leaving 800,000 federal workers with their pay suspended

The federal government will go into partial shutdown at midnight, unless a dramatic and unexpected action forces the Senate back into session. 

Senators said Friday evening that they would not vote on any additional legislation to keep the government open until the president strikes a deal with Democrats.

The upper chamber adjourned a little after 8 p.m. EDT with four hours to go until federal agencies within the Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce and Justice collapse.

Roughly 800,000 federal workers will go without paychecks until the government reopens. 

Some 420,000 employees of the federal government are likely to be deemed essential and kept on the job with the promise of back pay. Another 380,000 workers will be sent home on unpaid leave. They’re likely to get checks from the government down the line, but that requires an act of Congress.  

Leaving the Capitol for the evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that talks remained ‘constructive,’ but it’s up to President Trump and Democrats to come to an agreement to fund the federal government.

The White House signaled that nothing else would happen at its end of town when it said the president would make no further appearances shortly after the Senate adjourned. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a dinnertime update that it is clear that it will take the support of Senate Democrats to overcome a 60-vote threshold and a presidential signature to turn whatever legislation is passed into law 

Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the Senate when the McConnell put the ball in the White House's court to come to an agreement with Democrats

Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the Senate when the McConnell put the ball in the White House’s court to come to an agreement with Democrats

Putting McConnell's announcement in plain English, retiring Sen. Bob Corker said, 'We're not voting on anything else in this chamber relative to this issue, until a global agreement has been reached between the president, and these two leaders and the leader of the House

Putting McConnell’s announcement in plain English, retiring Sen. Bob Corker said, ‘We’re not voting on anything else in this chamber relative to this issue, until a global agreement has been reached between the president, and these two leaders and the leader of the House

Senators voted to proceed on a motion to consider a House bill that cannot pass earlier in the evening so that they would have a legislative vehicle for an eventual agreement, if one is to be arrived at, over the weekend.

McConnell said in a dinnertime update that it is clear that it will take the support of Senate Democrats to overcome a 60-vote threshold and a presidential signature to turn whatever legislation is passed into law.

‘I hope Senate Democrats will work with the White House on an agreement that can pass both houses of Congress and receive the president’s signature,’ he added. ‘So colleagues, when an agreement is reached, it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.’  

Putting McConnell’s announcement in plain English, retiring Sen. Bob Corker said, ‘We’re not voting on anything else in this chamber relative to this issue, until a global agreement has been reached between the president, and these two leaders and the leader of the House.

‘And there won’t be test votes. Not gonna be a tabling vote,’ he said. ‘What this does, I think is push this ahead to a negotiation that yields result and does the best we can to keep from shutting down government, or if it does shutdown, shutting down very briefly.’ 

The president responded with a tweet shortly after that suggested he was biding his time, waiting for Democratic leaders to call him. He shared a photo of himself behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of folios containing recently-passed legislation.

‘Some of the many Bills that I am signing in the Oval Office right now,’ he said. ‘Cancelled my trip on Air Force One to Florida while we wait to see if the Democrats will help us to protect America’s Southern Border!’ 

House leaders were also waiting on the president before setting up new votes on fiscal cliff legislation. 

‘I’m not bringing any bill to the floor that does not have the support of the president,’ House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said as legislators departed.

The president responded with a tweet shortly after that suggested he was biding his time, waiting for Democratic leaders to call him. He shared a photo of himself behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of folios containing recently-passed legislation

The president responded with a tweet shortly after that suggested he was biding his time, waiting for Democratic leaders to call him. He shared a photo of himself behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of folios containing recently-passed legislation

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence were on Capitol Hill negotiating on the president’s behalf on Friday evening in a last-ditch effort to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Pence was presiding over the Senate when McConnell issued his ultimatum. 

At the White House, a senior official wouldn’t comment on a $1.6 billion border wall deal that the Kushner, Pence and Mick Mulvaney reportedly offered, but told DailyMail.com: ‘We are still discussing, listening, and working to find way to fund border security and keep the government open.’

Minutes later, McConnell took the floor to provide a state of play. He said that Republican senators support the president’s original request for $5 billion for a border wall, but they also want to keep the government from falling apart tonight. 

‘As a result, the Senate has voted to proceed to the legislation before us in order to preserve maximum flexibility for productive conversations to continue between the White House and our Democratic colleagues,’ McConnell said in a floor speech.  

Furtive negotiations were taking place on both sides of the Capitol as lawmakers rushed to make a deal that would get them back to their districts in time for Christmas.

It was unclear how much progress any of them were making on Friday night as legislators decamped to their Washington, D.C. residences.

A spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer suggested that a deal was nowhere close to being done early Friday evening, the first of several indications that a shutdown was imminent. 

The Democratic lawmaker laid out three paths for the president to avoid a shutdown — none of which include the $5 billion he’s seeking for his border wall — during a meeting that took place prior to McConnell’s floor speech.

‘Leader Schumer reminded them that any proposal with funding for the wall will not pass the Senate and that the two proposals that leader Pelosi and he offered the President in the Oval Office last week are both still on the table,’ the person said.  

A bill that passed in the Senate unanimously by voice vote this week that could be brought for a vote in the House to ‘avoid a shutdown if the President signaled he would sign it’ is also a possibility.

‘Leader Schumer made clear that all three of these proposals contain border security funding — without the wall — and could pass both chambers,’ the Schumer spokesman said. 

President Donald Trump sent his son-in-law Jared along with his incoming chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to negotiate with the Senate Democratic leader

President Donald Trump sent his son-in-law Jared along with his incoming chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to negotiate with the Senate Democratic leader

KEY MOMENTS IN THE SHUTDOWN FIGHT 

6:50 AM: President Trump begins his day by instructing Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader who controls the Senate, to fight for the border wall ‘as hard as he fought for anything’ and brands it a ‘Democrat Shutdown’ if a deal isn’t brokered.

10:30 AM: Mitch McConnell comes to the White House for a meeting with Trump and Republican senators that lasts more than an hour.

10:39 AM: Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer fires back at Trump, telling him ‘you own the shutdown—your own words,’ as he reminds him that he said he would be ‘proud’ to do it and would take ‘the blame’ during their Oval Office clash.

12:15 PM: Trump tells reporters ‘the chances are probably very good’ that there will be a shutdown.

‘We are going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate. There’s a very good chance it won’t get passed. It’s up to the Democrats. So, it’s really the Democrat shutdown.’

4:00 PM: President Trump sends senior advisor Jared Kushner, incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to meet with Chuck Schumer.

They were also seen meeting with GOP leaders.

5:40 PM: A senior White House official tells DailyMail.com: ‘We are still discussing, listening, and working to find way to fund border security and keep the government open.’ 

5:50 PM: McConnell says the next vote that takes place will be on whatever deal he and Democratic leaders are able to strike with the president.

Schumer and Trump have been in a war of words all day over the partial government shutdown that each party leader is attempting to blame on the other.

Trump insisted Friday that Democrats will ‘own’ the result, despite saying 10 days earlier that he wouldn’t blame them for the government closure that he’d be ‘proud’ to oversee.

‘It’s up to the Democrats,’ he said in the Oval Office during a criminal justice bill signing. ‘It’s really, the Democrat shutdown, because we’ve done our thing.’

Schumer said on the Senate floor that it’s the president who ‘has us careening towards a Trump shutdown over Christmas,’ as he told Trump that he would not meet his border security demands.

‘President Trump, you will not get your wall. Abandon your shutdown strategy. You’re not getting the wall today, next week or on January 3,’ Schumer said. ‘You own the shutdown—your own words,’ he tweeted. 

But Trump refused to back down, admitting at the White House that the ‘chances are probably very good’ that a shutdown could take place. 

‘I hope we don’t, but, we’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown. And this is our only chance that we’ll ever have,’ he said, ‘because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security.’

Trump had already said he expected a shutdown over the holidays if he didn’t get his border wall funding.

‘Shutdown today if Democrats do not vote for Border Security!’ he said in a tweet. 

A House bill that would keep the government open passed Thursday evening that includes $5 billion to fund construction of Trump’s long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump said it's 'totally up to Democrats' whether the government remains open past midnight, just 10 days after insisting that he would take the blame if a shutdown happens

Trump said it’s ‘totally up to Democrats’ whether the government remains open past midnight, just 10 days after insisting that he would take the blame if a shutdown happens

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer framed a potential government shutdown as President Donald Trump's fault, while Trump tweeted that Democrats would 'own' it if they refused to help pass a budget extension that funds his border wall

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer framed a potential government shutdown as President Donald Trump’s fault, while Trump tweeted that Democrats would ‘own’ it if they refused to help pass a budget extension that funds his border wall

Trump's change of heart, tweeted Friday morning

Trump’s change of heart, tweeted Friday morning

Schumer threw Trump's December 11 words in his face, tweeting video of the president assuring him that he would take all the blame

Schumer threw Trump’s December 11 words in his face, tweeting video of the president assuring him that he would take all the blame

That measure was dead-on-arrival in the Senate after McConnell refused to change the Senate rules to allow for a simple majority to pass it.

After a meeting with McConnell on Friday morning, Trump claimed at the White House that ‘it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight.’ 

‘It’s possible that we’ll have a shutdown, I would say the chances are probably very good, because I don’t think Democrats care so much about, maybe, this issue, but this is a very big issue,’ he said, placing the blame on the opposing political party.  

The Senate held a vote open on Friday afternoon for more than five hours to allow lawmakers who had already left Washington to return. 

Republicans did not have the votes to pass border wall funding, and the president said he would let the government shut down rather than sign a Senate-passed measure that does not fund his border barrier but keeps the government open until Feb. 8.

His spokeswoman said Thursday evening that he wouldn’t depart today for Palm Beach, as previously planned, for his Christmas holiday in the event of a shutdown.  

A departure to Florida was not on the president’s schedule on Friday, and the Federal Aviation Administration canceled flight restrictions over the president’s private club for the entirety of his holiday.

He said in a tweet later that he had cancelled his flight while he waits to see what happens. 

It wasn’t clear on Friday evening how long the president would let a shutdown continue.

‘At this point we’re taking it day by day,’ strategic communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp said Friday morning on Fox Business. ‘This is a moment in time to get this done. For too long we’ve been waiting for additional funds for border security,’ she added. 

The president had declined to say how long he’d let a shutdown go on when prodded by reporters after his bill signing on Friday.

‘I’ll be honest. This is such an incredible moment, what we’ve just done, criminal justice reform, that I just don’t think it’s appropriate to be talking about [other topics],’ he stated.

The border wall is Trump’s best-known campaign promise. He’s said since the day he jumped into the 2016 race that he would build a wall fight illegal immigration. 

Sanders said it was the White House’s hope that disaster relief funds that had been added to the House’s legislation would attract Democrats in the Senate to the bill that funds Trump’s border wall.

She said Senate Democrats will be responsible for a shutdown, because they are refusing to go along with the House bill that ‘fulfills all of the things that they actually have said and they’ve campaigned for,’ including border security.

‘They’ve said they want technology and fencing and steel slats which is exactly what we’re happy to put up,’ she said. ‘So the idea that they are now opposed to something simply because it’s something the president wants, and that’s sad, and that’s the big story that should be coming out today.’

Senate Republicans who share Trump’s beliefs were begging him not to shut down the government on Friday morning. 

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who is days from retirement, said in a Friday morning statement: ‘I’ve long said that eliminating the legislative filibuster would be a mistake. It’s what’s prevented our country for decades from sliding toward liberalism. It’s inconvenient sometimes, but requiring compromise is in the interest of both parties in the long term.’ 

‘Everyone knows it can’t pass the Senate. It’s a cynical attempt, a cynical attempt to just hurt innocent people and do just what President Trump wants,’ Schumer said Thursday night of the House measure.

Republicans control 51 seats in the upper chamber, and need nine Democrats to side with them, based on long-standing rules for Senate’s operations, to overcome a filibuster.  

Trump told McConnell to throw them out and pass his border wall funding with a simple majority this morning as the nation stared down its second days-long shutdown this year, but McConnell again refused him. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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