WASHINGTON: The US government is shutting down as the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending bill, China’s Xinhua news agency reported, told Bernama.
Negotiations between congressional lawmakers continue.
Last-minute negotiations fell apart as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week short-term spending bill in a late night vote. It led to the fourth government shutdown over the past 25 years.
The White House accused the Democrats of the shutdown.
“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement before Friday midnight.
The White House blamed Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer for standing in the way for the Senate to pass the stopgap spending bill which was already been approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Sanders said in the statement that the White House will not negotiate the status of young immigrants known as “Dreamers” brought to the United States as children “while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands.”
Democratic lawmakers have demanded that a spending deal should include protections for Dreamers.
However, Republicans who control both chambers of the Congress want to separate immigration reform from the budget deal discussions.
Federal agencies, such as public safety and military, which are considered “essential,” will remain open, while others will be closed until the Congress passes a spending bill to reopen the government.
Democrats argued that the Republicans are to blame for the shutdown, given their control over both the White House and the Congress.
Schumer said that President Donald Trump did not press fellow Republicans to accept an immigration and spending caps proposal put forward by the Democrats.
After the Senate failed to pass the four-week bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed to vote on a three-week spending bill that will fund the government through Feb 8 in order to halt the shutdown.
It remains uncertain whether the proposal could draw enough votes to reopen the government.