Despite a day of wheeling and dealing between President Trump and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, as well as similar negotiations in Congress, the federal government officially shutdown at midnight Saturday morning.
A GOP stopgap measure to keep the government operating temporarily was rejected by Democrats in the Senate, with majority leader Mitch McConnell able to muster only 50 of 60 needed votes.
The shutdown comes on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.
“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.”
The shutdown was virtually guaranteed as the evening progressed with both sides divided. Had the Senate adopted such a stopgap bill, it would still have had to pass the House. Time simply ran out.
Earlier in the day, Trump summoned Schumer to his office to talk about a deal for a continuing resolution to fund the government, but Schumer left without convincing the president to include protection for DACA recipients in the funding plan.
The House had approved essentially a straight funding plan on Thursday, and that was on the Senate floor for a vote just before Friday’s midnight Eastern deadline, but plans already were in place for a “shutdown.”
Trump’s administrators promised it would be unlike the 2013 shutdown under President Obama, when officials weaponized the move and put barriers in front of federally owned monuments even in Washington to try to prevent people from looking at them.
It also was expected to be fairly short.
The stumbling block has been Democrat demands for amnesty in the funding bill, a plan to protect those illegal aliens brought into the U.S. by the parents years ago and possibly even give them the constitutional rights of an American citizen.
Trump has said he’ll deal on that issue – along with provisions for a secure border, more border agents, funding for a wall, an end to chain migration and more.
Democrats insisted on getting their DACA protection – likely with the hope of turning hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into Democrat voters in several key states before the 2018 midterms.
The proposal that was on the Senate floor would be for funding for four weeks, but Democrats have been refusing to support it. Even a few Republicans said they really were tired of short-term stopgap plans.
Trump likely knew at the outset he would not be caving on the amnesty issue, and had said on social media early in the day, “Government Funding Bill past [sic] last night in the House of Representatives. Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!”
Late in the day, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney briefed the press on the administration’s preparations for a shutdown, saying, “we do not want a shutdown, but if Mr. Schumer insists on it, he is in a position to force this on the American people.”