The federal government of the United States shut down early on Saturday after Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal on a spending bill that included President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall, The New York Times reported.
This is the first time in 40 years that the US government has closed three times in a year.
Both the US House of Representatives and the Senate adjourned after Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican, said there will not be a vote on Friday night in the Senate, according to CNN.
The House and Senate are both scheduled to conduct sessions on Saturday, which is rare. House members were told they would get 24 hours’ notice before a vote.
The shutdown blocks money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and several agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, AP reported.
The president has demanded $5.7 billion for a wall on the US-Mexico border, a promise made during his campaign days that he has pushed since assuming office. However, the congressional Democrats have promised to block funding for the wall, the Washington Post reported. The House on Thursday had passed a legislation that would fund government agencies till February 8 and appropriate the money for construction of the wall, but the Senate refused to back the measure.
Trump had even asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change Senate rules to pass the measures for money for the wall but McConnell denied permission. McConnell on Friday night said that “constructive talks are underway”.
As funding expired for several government operations at midnight in the US, this would plunge several projects into a crisis and leave around 4,20,000 workers forced to work without pay during Christmas season and 3,80,000 employees will be furloughed or forced to go on leave without pay.
The Senate passed a bill to ensure federal employees who are furloughed get back pay before they adjourned. The bill will need to pass the House.
Trump had blamed the Democrats for the impending shutdown. “If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time,” he tweeted. “People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”
The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
This comes after Trump’s defence secretary James Mattis resigned following the president’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. The US stocks have also had their worst week in a decade, The Guardian reported.