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U.S. government shutdown looms, lawmakers in hectic negotiations

U.S. government shutdown looms, lawmakers in hectic negotiations

"Mr. Schumer is going to have to up his game a little bit and be a little bit more honest with the president of the United States if we're going to see progress on that front", federal budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a White House briefing Saturday afternoon.

Various federal agencies were still making their plans for Monday; one federal worker that I saw on Saturday evening said his office had been told to come in for four hours on Monday, and then they would likely be sent home if there was no funding plan approved by the Congress.

For the record, this is the 19th government shutdown since the 1970s, with longest being a month during the Carter administration.

"We do some insane things in Washington, but this is utter madness", House Speaker Paul Ryan told his colleagues Saturday, as the House of Representatives also entered a special weekend session. Republicans tried to woo Democrats into voting for the bill by attaching six years' worth of funding for CHIP, the children's health insurance program that Republicans allowed to expire in the fall.

While the House of Representatives passed a short-term Bill on Thursday night, it failed in the senate.

Frantic negotiations had been taking place all day on Friday, but Republicans were unable to get the 60 votes necessary to pass the short term funding bill. It drew strong opposition from Democrats and some Republicans.




Essential federal services and military activity are continuing, but even active duty troops will not be paid until a deal is reached to reopen the USA government. Earlier, there were signs that a breakthrough might be reached.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spoke with Trump on Saturday morning, said Friday night he was open to the proposal. But it yielded no deal.

"Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country's ability to serve all Americans", the White House said in a statement. Democrats had argued for an extension of just four or five days to force both sides into serious negotiations on the immigration issue. A handful of Senate Democrats, including Sens. Republicans countered by noting that Democrats were needed to get the Senate bill past a filibuster. If this narrative continues in the New York Times or other papers, it can't be good news for Schumer.

"Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal", Schumer added, speaking from the Senate floor. "There is no one-no one-who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump", he said. This will be called the Trump shutdown. The government used to keep more services up and running during funding gaps, but the Department of Justice decided in 1980 and 1981 that existing law demanded a more far-reaching shutdown if Congress failed to pass a spending bill. "Yet the possibility of a government shutdown has escalated".

Neither Republicans nor Democrats accepted blame for the closure, each choosing to instead point fingers at the opposing party.

Without workers, various government offices, programs, and activities would be shut down.


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