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 John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 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 MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyNielsen was warned not to talk to Trump about new Russian election interference: report Oversight chair wants to hold ex-White House official in contempt Consumer bureau to give firms more info about investigations 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 Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ 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 KushnerHasan Minhaj calls out Kushner at event over ties to Saudi crown prince Kushner saying immigration plan will be 'neutral' on legal admissions: report Dems charge ahead on immigration MORE met with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage 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 Scalise20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure This week: Democrats revive net neutrality fight MORE (R-La.), House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Mueller report poses new test for Dems Washington in frenzy over release of Mueller report MORE (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDems digging into Trump finances post-Mueller Overnight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Cummings accuses Oversight Republicans of obstructing drug price probe MORE (R-Ohio) in outgoing Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration Biden and Bernie set for clash 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrevor Noah on lack of Pelosi nickname from Trump: 'There is a reverence for her' Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? 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.