WASHINGTON. The federal government is closing in on its third shutdown in two years. Budget talks between the White House and leaders in Congress fail to reach an agreement over funding for the border wall. The midnight deadline is getting closer, and House Republicans have said that no further voters are expected tonight.
Congress’ announcement means that a partial shutdown is imminent. It is unclear how long a shutdown may last.
What a shutdown means
The government shutdown is going to affect nearly 800,000 federal employees from a handful of departments including Homeland Security, Justice and Commerce. Some workers are facing furloughs if the deadlock continues into next week. Vice President Mike Pence and other White House advisers have been meeting with members of Congress.
The Senate earlier advanced a House-approved spending bill, to keep talks going between Democrats and Republicans. While Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said he hopes Democrats will work with the White House, Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer said that Trump was never going to get that funding.
The President sends in the troops
Vice President Pence, Jared Kushner, and Mick Mulvaney were dispatched to the Capitol at the president’s request as the government shutdown countdown drew closer. The trio met with Schumer and then-Speaker Paul Ryan. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn left for the holidays, saying no further votes were expected.
Democrat leaders have offered to support $1.3 billion in funding for fencing, while Republicans believe they can convince Schumer to raise it to $1.6 billion. Republicans currently hold 51 Senate seats and need nine Democrats to pass legislation, including funding for the border wall. Trump later told the media that they are prepared for a lengthy shutdown. Trump saying he would be “proud to take the blame for any shutdown in a fight for border security.”
Americans now wait and see what becomes of the shutdown, if and when it happens.