United States government shutdown starts as senators keep negotiating

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A partial government shutdown went into effect earlier Saturday morning after a House-passed spending bill to extend funding through February 16 failed to pass the Senate. The Democrats blamed Republicans for stalling the entire legislative process and not including permanent protections for the "Dreamers", those almost 800,000 illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and who have been covered under the Obama-era DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Before adjourning the Senate for the night, McConnell cleared away some procedural hurdles to a Saturday afternoon vote on an amendment that would shorten the House spending bill to a three-week rather than a four-week measure (which Lindsey Graham had been lobbying in favor of for much of the day).

Though the House and Senate were in session on Saturday, it was unclear whether legislators would take any votes of outcome.

US President Donald Trump marked the first anniversary of his inauguration yesterday with his government in shutdown, accusing Democrats of taking Americans hostage with their demands and putting immigrants ahead of the nation's military. While I voted for this continuing resolution because I refuse to support a government shutdown, it doesn't mean I believe this should be the way we govern. The president's brief but startling sitdown with Schumer (Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan were pointedly not invited) seems to have been aimed (beyond making Trump himself look like a peacemaker) at testing Democratic resolve over relief for Dreamers. "They want to deal on immigration and then they'll think about reopening the government".

"The discussions will continue", Senate Minority Leader Schumer said soon after his meeting with Trump at the White House.

Following the failed 50-49 vote late Friday, the White House issued a statement blaming Democrats for lawmakers' failure to compromise.

Trump said that chances were "not looking good" that talks in Congress would break an impasse over spending and avert a United States government shutdown.

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"Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very unsafe Southern Border", he tweeted, citing some of the government projects and agencies that will find themselves unfunded.

Republicans, who control both Congress and the White House, faced the prospect of being blamed for the display of dysfunction - just the fourth shutdown in a quarter-century.

That includes more than 1.3 million people on active duty in the military who will be required to work but will not be paid until funding is renewed or handled with separate legislation.

"Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown", she said in the statement.

If there's not, both sides were ready to place blame. Five Republicans and five Democrats, however, strayed from party lines.

This one is unique because the USA has never before experienced a shutdown under a unified government, a time when the White House and Congress are controlled by the same party.

Schumer said after the vote that when he met with Trump at the White House earlier Friday, they appeared to have reached the "outline of a deal" on issues including immigration and health care.

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