U.S. government shutdown looms over border wall row

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The shutdown, which started at midnight local time (4:00pm Saturday AEDT), is expected to disrupt Government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers granted a leave of absence or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas.

"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", the two democrats said in their statement.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called the shutdown "100 percent avoidable", accusing Mr Trump of "choosing funding for his ineffective and wasteful border wall over what's best for our country".

And he exhorted the Senate's Republican leader to corral enough Democratic votes to send a House-passed plan to the White House, even though the measure is nearly certain to be rejected in the Senate.

Senators say they won't vote on a final bill to fund the government until Trump and congressional leaders all agree to a deal. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

On Thursday night the House of Representatives passed a new Republican bill which included the $5 billion. Shortly thereafter, Republican Tennessee Republican Sen. To move past a filibuster, the Senate needs 60 of 100 votes.

The window for senators to vote will remain open for much of the day on Friday, as senators return to Washington from around the country. "We're still talking", Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer put the blame for the impending shutdown squarely on Trump.

Friday's voting dragged on as senators rushed back to town.

"There is a sense of optimism now", a senior House Republican source said. It will meet on Friday afternoon to vote again.

Peter Welch
U.S. Rep. Peter Welch D-Vt. speaks at a press conference in September at the Vermont Statehouse

Democrats have already made clear they will not support $5 billion for the wall, and any spending measure would need bipartisan support to pass in the Senate. The procedural vote gave the Senate "flexibility" to continue negotiating, McConnell said.

If a shutdown were to take place, it would be the second shutdown of the Trump presidency. I will take the mantle.

"I will be the one to shut it down", he said.

A shutdown would force about 800,000 federal employees to stop working or continue at their posts without pay. Later in the morning, not even waiting for a Senate vote, Trump tweeted that "the Democrats now own the shutdown!"

The gridlock blocks money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

Three-quarters of government programs are fully funded through next September 30, including those in the Defense Department, Labor Department and Health and Human Services.

Agencies are expected to limit staff to those deemed "essential" to public safety.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona voted to advance the House-passed bill, but said there was no path forward for it in the Senate.

Jordan, speaking on the floor, blasted the idea of postponing another spending bill fight to February, when Democrats will hold the majority in the House.

Jennifer Spindel, an global security expert at the University of Oklahoma, said US retrenchment from foreign and military affairs could embolden autocrats - giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a free hand to attack the United States' Kurdish allies in Syria, or allowing Mr. Putin space to step up his support for secessionist forces in eastern Ukraine. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told The Associated Press.

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