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Partial government shutdown to continue past Christmas

Published: Saturday, December 22, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

With little sign of any headway on an agreement to end a funding lapse which has shutdown part of the federal government, the Senate adjourned on Saturday afternoon and set a schedule which doesn't provide for any votes on a funding deal until next Thursday at the earliest, signaling that the funding standoff between Congress and the President will continue past Christmas.

"When these negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all parties," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor, "at that point, we will take it up on the Senate floor."

"Senators will be notified when a vote is scheduled, and in the meantime, the discussions and the negotiations continue," McConnell added.

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Democrats blamed the White House for the impasse.

"The President is holding the federal government hostage, for $5 billion of American taxpayer dollars for his unnecessary, ineffective, and expensive wall on the southern border — a wall he repeatedly promised the American taxpayers Mexico would pay for," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

At the White House, President Trump met with Republican lawmakers, which most notably included several members of the House Freedom Caucus, who have pushed the President to not give in on his demand for border wall money.

"Let’s stand up and fight. It’s now or never," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).

The lack of late night negotiations on Friday, and the Saturday meeting at the White House with only GOP lawmakers was a very clear signal to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that no deal was near.

"I wonder who President Scrooge is negotiating with?" said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), who took a photo of reporters waiting outside the Senate chamber for word of any progress on the funding dispute.

Vice President Pence did meet with Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer on Saturday afternoon, but there was no indication of any breakthrough, as evidenced by the Senate's announced schedule.

The end in funding is impacting about a quarter of the federal government - agencies like NASA, the Department of Justice, the Commerce Department, the National Weather Service, the State Department, TSA, EPA, and more.

Congress has already approved its own budget for 2019, along with spending plans for the military, VA, energy and water programs, as well as major health agencies.

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