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Senate rejects funding bill, partial shutdown begins

Senators voted late Friday to reject a House-passed bill that would have funded the government until Feb. 16, beginning a partial government shutdown.

Most Democrats voted to block the bill as part of a risky strategy to force Republicans to negotiate with them on a legislative fix for "Dreamers," immigrants who illegally came to the country at a young age and now face the prospect of deportation. The procedural motion on the bill failed 50-49.

Only five Democrats voted to advance the bill — Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' It's Joe Manchin vs the progressives on infrastructure MORE (W.Va.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans fret over divisive candidates Everybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (N.D.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding Republicans fret over divisive candidates Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP MORE (Mo.), who are all up for reelection this year in states carried by President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE in 2016 election, and newly elected Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

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Republicans were also not united, as Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Sherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (Ky.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse to advance appropriations bills in June, July The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won MORE (S.C.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRepublicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill MORE (Utah) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Cindy McCain: Arizona election audit is 'ludicrous' The Republicans' deep dive into nativism MORE (Ariz.) also voted against advancing the legislation. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer, was absent.

The procedural vote remained open for roughly two hours on Friday night, remaining well below the needed 60 votes to pass.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE issued a memorandum instructing agencies to begin a shutdown.

The memo said that because OMB does not have a clear signal from Congress that it will act to fund the government, it is necessary to execute plans "for an orderly shutdown" due to the absence of appropriations.

It said OMB would offer additional guidance as appropriate.

While a partial shutdown has started, Mulvaney earlier in the day suggested the negative effects of a shutdown would not completely be felt until Monday, when hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed.

The closure will mark the first time that the government has been shuttered since 2013, when a shutdown carried on for 16 days as a band of Republicans tried to dismantle ObamaCare.

Republicans are blaming Senate Democrats for the latest shutdown, arguing their refusal to agree to a one-month stopgap passed on a largely party-line vote in the House caused the shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE (R-Ky.) delayed the vote until late Friday evening as part of an effort to raise pressure on Democrats.

A meeting at the White House earlier on Friday between Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHow to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan MORE (N.Y.) and President Trump failed to break the stalemate, though both sides said some progress had been made.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said he had made concessions in the talks with Trump, even offering to consider his proposal for a southern border wall — an idea that Democrats had long called a non-starter.

"During the meeting, in exchange for strong [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] protections, I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for the discussion. Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal," Schumer said from the Senate floor.
 
"In my heart, I thought we might have a deal tonight. That was how far we had come. That's how positive our discussion felt. We had a good meeting," he said.

McConnell in his own floor speech castigated Democrats, saying they have forced a "completely avoidable" shutdown.

"What we have just witnessed on the floor was a cynical decision by Senate Democrats to shove aside millions of Americans for the sake of irresponsible, political games," he said from the Senate floor.

The funding fight is set to spill over into Saturday, when both the House and Senate will be in session.

McConnell late Friday announced he would move to amend the government funding bill so that it funds the government until Feb. 8.

A vote on that bill could be held Saturday, but it's unclear whether it will pass. Schumer said congressional leaders should meet at the White House with Trump to finalize an agreement on immigration and the broader government funding package.

Republicans and Democrats spent most of Friday blaming each other for the looming shutdown.

“This is completely unfair and uncompassionate for my Democratic colleagues to filibuster government funding, harm our troops and jeopardize health coverage for 9 million children because extreme elements of their base want illegal immigration to crowd out every other priority,” McConnell said.

He says immigration reform should be handled separately from the spending bills and wants Trump to sign off on an immigration deal before it comes to the Senate floor.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinAmerica's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction MORE (Ill.) took to the floor after McConnell to blast Republicans for failing to make substantial progress after Trump tasked Congress with replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“So what has the Republican majority in the House and Senate done in the four and a half months since we received that challenge from President Trump? Nothing. Nothing,” he said

Trump administration officials hoped up until the last moment that Democrats would change their mind and vote for the House-passed stopgap, even though they made it clear they saw it as unacceptable.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters Friday evening that he still hoped that Democrats would let the House bill pass.

Negotiations on an immigration proposal to grant legal status to "Dreamers" and boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border seemed to go backwards.

The No. 2-ranking leaders in both chambers, Durbin, Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Cornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel MORE (Texas), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyLoyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity MORE (R-Calif.), and House Democratic Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July House to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month Top Democrat: Bill to boost Capitol security likely to advance this month MORE (D-Md.), had been tasked with leading the immigration talks.

But a meeting of these four leaders that had been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, and then postponed to 1 p.m., never happened.

Instead, Cornyn and McCarthy met separately and reported making some progress.

Cornyn applauded Trump for rejecting a bipartisan Senate deal crafted by three Democrats and three Republicans, including Durbin, Flake and Graham.

“The president did the right thing. He told him look, you go back and you talk to the Speaker and the Senate majority leader and you guys work that out,” Cornyn said, summarizing Trump’s conversation with Schumer about immigration earlier in the day.

Facing a stalemate on immigration, Schumer has shifted the argument slightly by arguing that Democrats are justified in opposing the short-term spending bill because funding the government with a series of stopgaps creates uncertainty for defense and nondefense programs.

In an unusual move, the Democratic leader decried the potential impact on the military, which is usually a Republican talking point.

“The Pentagon thinks this [continuing resolution] is wrong for our military,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday night, reading a statement from a Dana White, the chief Defense Department spokeswoman, who called the succession of stopgap spending measures “wasteful and destructive.”

Schumer also wants to negotiate an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program for longer than the six-years included in the House bill, as well as higher spending caps for domestic federal programs.

But the stalemate over immigration policy is the biggest holdup.

Republicans oppose the bipartisan bill favored by the Senate Democratic leadership, arguing it does not do enough to enhance border security.

Updated at 1:30 a.m.