Politics

Congress Adjourns Without a Plan to Avert a Partial Gov’t Shutdown

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told members they should stay in town, though no votes are scheduled as of now

Image Credit: Win McNamee/Staff/Getty Images / Pool/Pool/Getty Images

Congress moved to adjourn without a plan to avert a partial government shutdown Friday with the deadline to fund the government hours away.

The House moved to adjourn with lawmakers in both parties and the president continuing their last-minute talks to reach a deal. The Senate did the same a little over an hour later.

The move makes a shutdown essentially inevitable, as the deadline to fund the government is at midnight Friday.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told members they should stay in town even though no votes are so far scheduled for the weekend.

He said he would give lawmakers enough warning before the next vote on government funding.

“I don’t see more votes until the Senate acts,” McCarthy said on the floor on Friday.

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Related: Government Funding Fight Reaches Fever Pitch

President Donald Trump has fought to get $5 billion to fund his border wall. Democratic leaders have refused to give him any funding for the wall — putting both sides on a collision course toward a shutdown. Leaders from both parties tried to reach a deal in the hours leading up to the shutdown but could not come to an agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a continuing resolution this week to keep the government funded at current levels until Feb. 8, 2019. The Senate quickly passed it Wednesday before it moved along to the House.

But that version of the bill was derailed soon after facing internal opposition.

The House Freedom Caucus argued from the floor against the bill and urged a fight for border wall funding on Wednesday. Trump also came out against the short-term spending proposal the next day. The House responded by passing a version of the bill — which also included $5.7 billion for his border wall.

But both chambers need to pass identical bills.

A partial government shutdown occurs when lawmakers don’t pass every appropriations bills or a continuing resolution before the end of the fiscal year. It is essentially when the government runs out of money. Federal agencies must temporarily disband all nonessential employees and functions until new funding legislation is signed into law. But the government still maintains most of his functions which is why they are often referred to as partial shutdowns.

There are an estimated 400,000 federal employees who will work without pay during the shutdown, according to Bloomberg. Then there are another 350,000 workers who would be furloughed, meaning they would be temporally dismissed. Those employees who work without pay would get compensated when the government reopens. Congress has also traditionally acted to ensure the furloughed workers could get retroactive pay as well.

The announcement came after Vice President Mike Pence and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Republican leadership, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan to find a compromise on funding, The Hill reported.

Related: House Freedom Caucus Demands Border Wall Funding as Shutdown Deadline Looms

Trump seemed ready to take the blame for the shutdown in the name of border security during a remarkable and contentious meeting with Democratic leaders on December 11. But he later argued the Democrats would be at fault if they didn’t vote for border security. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded by putting the blame on him.

Schumer said during the failed meeting they should either pass a continuing resolution for the remaining spending bills or just one for the bill that covers border security. Schumer had previously said he was only willing to provide the $1.6 billion for border security.

But those funds cannot go toward the construction of a border wall.

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