The Latest: Government shutting down amid partisan standoff
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local):
The U.S. government shut down at midnight after Congress failed to resolve a partisan standoff over immigration and spending.
In a late-night vote, Senate Democrats joined to block a bill that would have kept the government running for another four weeks. A flurry of last-minute negotiations failed to beat the deadline.
Democrats have tried to use the Friday night funding deadline to win concessions from Republicans, including an extension of an Obama-era program protecting some young immigrants from deportation. The program is set to expire in March. Republicans sought more time for talks, but Democrats refused.
The shutdown is only the fourth government closure in a quarter-century. It will only partially curb government operations. Uniformed service members, health inspectors, and law enforcement officers are set to work without pay.
Many of the immediate effects of the government shutdown will be muted for most Americans, as it comes on a Friday night.
Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.
But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are set to be furloughed.
The White House and Capitol Hill will be working with skeleton staffs, but some government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, have said they were able to shift funding around to keep most workers on the job. National parks and federal museums will be open, but with potentially reduced services.
Senate Democrats appear to have derailed a Republican bill aimed at preventing a federal shutdown set to begin as soon as the calendar flips to Saturday.
Friday’s late-night vote means at least a short government closure is all but unavoidable. There have been no clear public signs that the two parties have significantly narrowed their disputes over immigration and the budget.
The House approved the measure Thursday over Democratic opposition. It would keep agencies afloat through Feb. 16, but Democrats want a package lasting just days in hopes of intensifying pressure on the GOP to compromise.
Republicans control the Senate 51-49. The GOP needed 60 votes to prevail, but the tally was 50-48 as of 11 p.m. Eastern time. The Senate is awaiting a final vote from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Trump administration will exempt several hundred presidential staffers from mandatory furloughs if the government shuts down at midnight.
Contingency plans released Friday night show that 659 Executive Office of the President staffers would be allowed to report to duty because they are considered essential workers. More than 1,000 of 1,700 staffers would be furloughed.
The number is higher than the Obama administration, which deemed 545 staffers essential in 2015.
The Executive Office of the President includes those who work in White House Office, the Office of the Vice President and the National Security Council, among others.
President Donald Trump says efforts to avert a government shutdown are “Not looking good.”
Trump says in a tweet late Friday evening that it’s “Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border.”
And he’s blaming Democrats, saying they want a federal government shutdown “in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy.”
Lawmakers are trying to hash out a deal to keep the federal government open. A partial shutdown will begin at midnight if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill.
Newly minted Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is breaking ranks with party leaders and will vote for the House-passed Republican bill preventing a federal shutdown.
Jones tells The Associated Press he will “reluctantly” vote for the measure late Friday. He says he’s backing it because the measure contains fresh financing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps low-income children.
It will be Jones’ highest-profile vote since he joined the Senate Jan. 3 after his upset special election victory over conservative Roy Moore.
Democrats say they have the votes to block the GOP measure. Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but need 60 votes to prevail.
Jones joins at least three other Democrats saying they’ll support the bill: North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.