Pence warns of 'dangerous consequences' for national defense amid shutdown

Pence warns of 'dangerous consequences' for national defense amid shutdown
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Vice President Pence warned of "dangerous consequences" for the country's defense amid the government shutdown on Saturday, after the Senate failed to reach a deal to fund the government.

"Democratic leadership preferred a shutdown that has dangerous consequences for our national defense," Pence said in a statement distributed aboard Air Force Two while en route to the Middle East for a three-nation tour.

"Their action tonight, or lack thereof, is unconscionable. Our administration will do everything within our power to support the brave men and women in uniform who stand on the frontlines of freedom," he continued.

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"But as of tonight, due to a completely avoidable government shutdown, they'll stand their post without pay." 

The Senate failed to reach a midnight deadline to broker a deal on funding the government. Pence was briefed on the development on his way to the Middle East. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also invoked national defense while blasting Democrats over the shutdown, which officially started Friday night at midnight.

Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” Sanders said in a statement. 

While thousands of federal employees are furloughed in a government shutdown, military members are considered essential and would still report for duty despite a shutdown, officials have said.