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Shutdown begins as lawmakers wrestle over Trump's border wall

Congress failed to avert a partial government shutdown on Friday and doesn’t appear to have a clear path forward as lawmakers continue to squabble over funding for President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE’s border wall.

Senate negotiators from both parties agreed to keep talking in search of an elusive spending deal as the House and Senate adjourned Friday night without an agreement to avoid at least a partial shutdown starting at midnight.

White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOMB nominee gets hearing on Feb. 9 Republicans now 'shocked, shocked' that there's a deficit Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief MORE, who is also serving as Trump's acting chief of staff, sent a memo to federal agencies instructing them to begin executing plans for a shutdown starting Saturday.

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"Although we are hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration, employees should report to work for their next regularly scheduled tour of duty to undertake orderly shutdown activities. We will issue another memorandum reopening government functions once the President has signed a bill providing for appropriations," he wrote.

Top White House officials descended on the Capitol on Friday to huddle with Republican leaders in an eleventh-hour search for a breakthrough, but the modest progress wasn’t enough to keep roughly a quarter of the federal government running, resulting in the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal employees just three days before Christmas.

Agencies including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency are all slated to be impacted by the expiring funding.

Trump attempted to reverse course on Friday and blame Democrats for the probable shutdown after the House passed a bill that included $5 billion for his border wall the previous night. The measure was considered dead on arrival in the Senate.

"The majority has acted, the majority sent it to the Senate. In the Senate it takes 60 votes — so it really comes down to one person: Schumer,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill Parliamentarian strikes down Pelosi priority in aid package Democrats snipe on policy, GOP brawls over Trump MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters, referring to the Senate Democratic leader.

“Does Schumer want to shut the government down or does he want to make sure we find a compromise? Just a couple of weeks ago he was fine with doing border security. And now he's got a problem with it?" McCarthy said.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, said Trump was the only one to blame for the legislative impasse after he said in a meeting last week with top Democrats that he'd “take the mantle” of a shutdown over his border wall.

The lapse in funding comes amid two days of chaos on Capitol Hill after the president asserted he wouldn't support a bill that didn't include funding for his wall.

Senate Republicans expressed frustration and disbelief at that decision, noting they passed a stopgap measure that didn't include the funding because the White House had previously signaled Trump would sign such a bill.

But Trump, under fire from conservative lawmakers and pundits, reversed course Thursday after a meeting with top House Republicans at the White House.

Vice President Pence, Mulvaney and senior White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden to speak with Saudi king 'soon' as pressure builds for Khashoggi report Biden to speak with Saudi king ahead of Khashoggi report: report Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE met with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade A Biden stumble on China? MORE (D-N.Y.) in an attempt to find a path forward on Friday afternoon.

Pence and Mulvaney then huddled with McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseBiden's COVID, border policies prove he's serious about neither Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Merrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat MORE (R-La.), House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-Ohio) in outgoing Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBoehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE’s (R-Wis.) ceremonial office off the House floor.

Following the meeting, McCarthy announced that no votes were scheduled for Saturday, telling lawmakers they will be provided 24 hours' notice before a vote is called.

The House and the Senate both adjourned Friday night, without a deal to avert the shutdown.

McCarthy said he’s advising members to stay in town as they wait for the Senate to take action, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters as he left the Capitol on Friday night that "constructive talks are underway."

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The Senate on Friday voted to take up the House-passed spending bill, but lawmakers said they were doing so only to make room for further negotiations and to allow talks to continue in good faith.

Senators emphasized that the chamber won't vote on another spending bill unless it's one that Democrats and the White House can agree on.

Scalise echoed McCarthy’s sentiments on Friday, arguing the fate of the government reopening lays in the hands of the upper chamber and the White House.

“The president's been open to negotiating. What exactly would those other alternatives be to the bill we passed? That's up to the folks that aren't in agreement with what we passed,” Scalise told The Hill. “I mean we laid out a plan for keeping the government running — if they've got a better plan they should go talk to the president and get an agreement.”

Senate Democrats have been clear they will not support legislation that includes $5 billion for the wall. And while conservatives have been adamant in their calls to meet Trump’s demand, some have expressed openness to supporting a measure that provides $1.6 billion — a figure that is being weighed by members in the upper chamber.

While lawmakers appeared to be on track to recess for the remainder of the year after the Senate on Wednesday passed a stopgap measure that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8, House conservatives amped up pressure on members of their party to reject any measure that doesn’t include the $5 billion.

In a series of special order speeches Wednesday evening, members of the House Freedom Caucus announced they would support the president in vetoing a clean continuing resolution, arguing Congress faces a narrow path in securing border wall funding come January when House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package MORE (Calif.) likely regains the Speaker’s gavel.

House Republicans managed to pass an amended stopgap measure easily that included $5.7 billion in border security and wall funding and $8.7 billion in emergency disaster aid in a 217-185 vote on Thursday night, despite speculation they did not have the votes.

But the House-passed version faced a nearly impossible path in the Senate. Republicans in the upper chamber also quickly rejected a call from Trump for McConnell to "go nuclear" and eliminate the legislative filibuster in order pass the amended measure.

Congress passed five appropriations bills in September, which covered about 75 percent of its annual spending. Those bills provided a combined $1 trillion in funding for the Pentagon and Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch, among others. The funded departments will not be affected by a shutdown.

The expiring stopgap measure covered the seven remaining bills, which add up to $325 billion in annual spending. Once the funding expires, the related agencies will have to cease operating except for staff and programs deemed "essential." 

— Niv Elis contributed. Updated Dec. 22 at 12:01 a.m.