US Government in Partial Shutdown

The US Government has partially shut down, after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a spending plan before a midnight deadline. 

The major stumbling block continues to be President Trump’s plan for a border wall, seen as perhaps the biggest campaign promise he has failed to achieve.  Democrats in both chambers are firmly opposed to his plan.  The House passed a spending measure that included 5.7-billion dollars in border wall spending, but it will almost certainly go down to defeat in the Senate.  The Republicans still hold a majority in that chamber, but a funding bill requires 60 votes to approve.  All 49 Democrats have already promised to stand against it.

Republicans will lose their majority in the House next month, so many in the GOP see this as their last chance at funding a border wall.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement, blaming President Trump for the impasse:

"Regrettably, America has now entered a Trump Shutdown… Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. But 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. President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted.”

While the entire government will not be affected, nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of other agencies will close until a budget agreement can be reached.  Critical services like the Postal Service, air traffic control, and law enforcement agencies like the FBI and Border Patrol will continue to operate.  Social Security checks will likewise be unaffected.

Almost everyone at NASA will be furloughed, along with member of the IRS, and about 80-percent of the National Park Service.  Any budget compromise will likely assure those workers receive back pay.

The Senate will reconvene at noon today to continue negotiations. 

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