Federal shutdown begins after lawmakers fail to reach deal

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber as the Senate waits to take up a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown at midnight, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for criminal justice reform legislation in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP/Evan Vucci)
The Capitol is seen at day's end as the Senate works on a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump's border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Capitol is seen at day’s end as the Senate works on a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Mike Pence, Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner
Vice President Mike Pence, second from right, walks with incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, center, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, second from left, after meetings to pass a bill that would pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, on Capitol Hill, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks with reporters on his way to the senate chamber, as the Senate takes up a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump's border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks with reporters on his way to the senate chamber, as the Senate takes up a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the Capitol from the White House as work to avoid a partial government shutdown continues with President Donald Trump demanding funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Trump is imploring McConnell to change the Senate's rules in order to pass the spending bill. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the Capitol from the White House as work to avoid a partial government shutdown continues with President Donald Trump demanding funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Trump is imploring McConnell to change the Senate’s rules in order to pass the spending bill. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump's border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Mitch McConnell, Richard C. Shelby
En route to a meeting at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, walks with Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as work continues prior to a Friday night funding deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Trump is imploring McConnell to change the Senate’s rules in order to pass the spending bill with money for a border wall. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump's border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Jim Jordan
Conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leader of the Freedom Caucus, leaves the chamber after the Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The U.S. Capitol is seen reflected after rain in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The U.S. Capitol is seen reflected after rain in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. The Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives at the Capitol as work continues to meet a Friday night deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown as President Donald Trump demands money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Trump is imploring McConnell to change the Senate’s rules in order to pass the spending bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the speaker-designate for the new Congress, talk to reporters as a revised spending bill is introduced in the House that includes $5 billion demanded by President Donald Trump for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as Congress tries to avert a partial shutdown, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the speaker-designate for the new Congress, talk to reporters as a revised spending bill is introduced in the House that includes $5 billion demanded by President Donald Trump for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as Congress tries to avert a partial shutdown, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the speaker-designate for the new Congress, talk to reporters as a revised spending bill is introduced in the House that includes $5 billion demanded by President Donald Trump for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as Congress tries to avert a partial shutdown, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(1/15)
Mitch McConnell
Donald Trump
The Capitol is seen at day's end as the Senate works on a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump's border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Mike Pence, Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks with reporters on his way to the senate chamber, as the Senate takes up a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump's border wall and avert a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the Capitol from the White House as work to avoid a partial government shutdown continues with President Donald Trump demanding funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Trump is imploring McConnell to change the Senate's rules in order to pass the spending bill. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump's border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Mitch McConnell, Richard C. Shelby
The Capitol Christmas tree is seen outside of The U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Republican-led House approved funding for President Donald Trump's border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown. The bill now goes to the Senate. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Jim Jordan
The U.S. Capitol is seen reflected after rain in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Mitch McConnell
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON (AP) — A partial federal shutdown took hold early Saturday after Democrats refused to meet President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion to start erecting his cherished Mexican border wall, a chaotic postscript for Republicans in the waning days of their two-year reign controlling government.

Vice President Mike Pence, Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney left the Capitol late Friday after hours of bargaining with congressional leaders produced no apparent compromise. “We don’t have a deal. We’re still talking,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters.

Late Friday, Mulvaney sent agency heads a memorandum telling them to “execute plans for an orderly shutdown.” He wrote that administration officials were “hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration” — an expectation that was widely shared.

With negotiations expected to continue, the House and Senate both scheduled rare Saturday sessions. House members were told they’d get 24 hours’ notice before a vote.

The gridlock blocks money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

The lack of funds will disrupt many government operations and the routines of 800,000 federal employees. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and will work unpaid just days before Christmas, while 380,000 will be furloughed, meaning they’ll stay home without pay.

Those being furloughed include nearly everyone at NASA and 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service. About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service will stay home and many parks were expected to close.

The Senate passed legislation ensuring workers will receive back pay, which the House seemed sure to approve.

Some agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, were already funded for the year in agreements reached earlier, and they will operate as usual.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, will not be affected because it’s an independent agency. Social Security checks will still be mailed, troops will remain on duty and food inspections will continue.

Also still functioning will be the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard. Transportation Security Administration officers will continue to staff airport checkpoints and air traffic controllers will also remain at work.

Trump has openly savored a shutdown over the wall for months, saying last week he’d be “proud” to have one and saying Friday he was “totally prepared for a very long” closure. While many of Congress’ most conservative Republicans were welcoming such a confrontation, most GOP lawmakers have wanted to avoid one, since polling shows the public broadly opposes the wall and a shutdown over it.

Initial Republican reaction to the shutdown was muted. Among the few GOP lawmakers who issued statements as it began were Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who expressed disappointment at the lack of a deal, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. “This is a complete failure of negotiations and a success for no one,” Alexander said.

“Instead of honoring his responsibility to the American people, President Trump threw a temper tantrum and convinced House Republicans to push our nation into a destructive Trump Shutdown in the middle of the holiday season,” said a joint statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Despite saying last week he’d not blame Democrats for the closure, Trump and his GOP allies spent the last two days blaming Democrats anyway. Trump said now was the time for Congress to provide taxpayers’ money for the wall, even though he’s said repeatedly that Mexico will pay for it — something that country has repeatedly rebuffed.

“This is our only chance that we’ll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security,” Trump said Friday. Democrats will take control of the House January 3, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.

Looking for a way to claim victory, Trump said he would accept money for a “Steel Slat Barrier” with spikes on the top, which he said would be just as effective as a “wall” and “at the same time beautiful.”

Trump called GOP senators to the White House Friday morning, but Republicans said afterward that the session did not produce a strategy.

Early this week, the Senate approved a bipartisan deal keeping government open into February and providing $1.3 billion for border security projects but not the wall. In a GOP victory Thursday, the House rebelled and approved a package temporarily financing the government but also providing $5.7 billion for the border wall.

Friday afternoon, a Senate procedural vote showed that Republicans lacked the 60 votes they’d need to force that measure through their chamber. That jump-started negotiations between Congress and the White House.

Republicans conceded that one of their biggest hurdles was Trump’s legendary unpredictability and proclivity for abruptly changing his mind.

“The biggest problem is, we just don’t know what the president will sign,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

The White House said Trump did not go to Florida on Friday as planned for the Christmas holiday.

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up