Shutdown to drag on for days after Senate adjourns without deal

The partial shutdown will drag into next week after the Senate adjourned on Saturday without taking action to end the funding lapse and reopen the federal government.
 
The chamber will next meet for a pro forma session on Monday morning, then will reconvene after Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left MORE (R-Ky.) announced.
 
The pro forma is constitutionally mandated and the Senate does not generally conduct legislative business during the sessions, which last a few seconds. That will put the focus on getting a deal before lawmakers return on Thursday.
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“As I said earlier, I am glad that productive discussions are continuing. When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all parties—which means 60 votes in the Senate, a majority in the House, and a presidential signature—at that point, we will take it up here on the Senate floor," McConnell said from the Senate floor.
 
“Senators will be notified when a vote is scheduled. In the meantime, negotiations will continue," he added.
 
 
Leadership and only a handful of lawmakers had gathered at the Capitol around noon on Saturday with modest hope of finding a way forward to end the shutdown, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and is affecting about 25 percent of the federal government.
 

A spokesman for Schumer told The Hill that the Senate Democratic leader was meeting with Pence "at the White House's request" and that Schumer expected to get a readout of Trump's lunch with GOP lawmakers.

"The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer. Unfortunately, we’re still very far apart," the spokesman added after the Schumer-Pence meeting.

Schumer was expected to reiterate during the meeting that Democrats would not support a bill that includes funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Both sides spent much of Saturday blaming the other for the shutdown — the third in the past year — raising questions about how quickly lawmakers could reach a deal to end the funding lapse.

The White House and lawmakers acknowledged by the afternoon that prospects for a deal had not increased, even after Senate leaders made a last-ditch pledge to negotiate hours before the deadline on Friday night.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive takeaways from Trump's budget Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump unveils 2020 budget | Calls for cuts to NIH | Proposes user fees on e-cigs | Azar heads to Capitol to defend blueprint | Key drug price bill gets hearing this week Trump's emergency declaration looms over Pentagon funding fight MORE, while declining to discuss details, said Pence was at the Capitol to discuss a government funding offer with the Senate Democratic leader but that a deal on Saturday was "probably not probable."

"Merry Christmas all of you," Shelby told reporters after his own meeting with Pence when asked what the break means about the state of negotiations. "There's no deal, there's no deal. ... 27th will be here, what? Thursday?"

Shelby added that Republicans and Democrats weren't "far apart," but "we're not together."

Meanwhile, a senior administration official doubled down on Trump's request for $5 billion in funding for "physical barriers" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We're not going to negotiate over the phone as to what he would accept. That continues to be what this president is pushing for,” the official told reporters during a call when asked if the president would accept $1.6 billion instead.

The official said that they hoped the partial government closure would last only a "few days."

Trump also held a lunch at the White House with a number of Republicans who have encouraged him to dig in on his demand.

Three members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Trump keeps tight grip on GOP Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (R-N.C.) and founding member Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Jordan jokes that sport coats inhibit him during heated hearings Attorney previously in contact with Cohen pushes back on pardon narrative to CNN MORE (R-Ohio), were among those dining with Trump in the White House residence.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Freedom Caucus ally Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump: I told Republicans to vote for 'transparency' in releasing Mueller report House votes for Mueller report to be made public Matt Gaetz jabs Don Lemon while talking to Chris Cuomo on CNN MORE (R-Fla.) were also in attendance.

Democrats, meanwhile, repeatedly blasted Trump on Saturday and told him to back down from the wall fight.

Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHistory teaches that Nancy Pelosi is right about impeachment The politics and practicalities of impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE (D-Calif.) have repeatedly said they will not accept funding for a concrete wall, but fencing.

Schumer slammed Trump during a floor speech Saturday afternoon, criticizing his "destructive two-week temper tantrum demanding the American taxpayer pony up for an expensive and ineffective border wall."

He added that McConnell and outgoing House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan joins board of Fox Corporation Bottom Line Paul Ryan says Trump will win reelection because of 'record of accomplishment' MORE (R-Wis.) "cannot duck responsibility" and "are essential to this process." Schumer said that, after Trump reversed course this week on supporting the Senate's initial seven-week funding bill, Trump has to publicly endorse a final deal before it gets a vote in the Senate.

"We don't want to go through what we went through a few days ago. Both Leader McConnell and I have agreed that qualification for a specific reason. Repeatedly the president has privately agreed to a deal with congressional leaders only to reverse himself when criticized by the far-right," Schumer added.

An estimated 380,000 federal employees are being furloughed during the shutdown, while an estimated 420,000 employees will be required to work without pay, such as Transportation Security Administration officials managing busy holiday travel.

The shutdown affects the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury, among others.

Updated at 4:43 p.m.