A House-passed stopgap bill that would have avoided a government shutdown failed Friday night at 9PM Pacific Time, effectively shutting down all non-essential functions of the federal government. The measure failed in a final procedural vote that was still open in the Senate early Saturday morning. Five Democrats crossed the aisle to back the measure, while four key Republicans opposed it. The proposal that failed in the Senate would have funded the government through February 16th, and extended the CHIP health coverage program that protects millions of American children for 6 years.
The Senate needed to garner 60 votes to pass the spending bill. The Republicans are placing the blame for the shutdown squarely on Democratic lawmakers, saying that they made passage of the bill contingent on an agreement regarding DACA recipients, and Dreamers, who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Democrats are blaming Republicans, saying their reluctance to pass meaningful immigration reform enforcing DACA protection, and protecting Dreamers is the catalyst for their party members not being willing to cross the aisle to keep the government up and running.
Shortly after the clock struck midnight on the east coast White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement excoriating Democrats for the shutdown. It read: "We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform,".
The impacts of the shutdown will be felt immediately. All non-essential Federal employees will be furloughed and will not be paid until a funding bill has passed. Military active duty personnel will remain on the job, and on duty in combat zones, but will experience a lapse in pay. Veterans services will remain largely intact. The Post Office will remain open, and mail will continue to be delivered. Travel will remain largely untouched, with Air Traffic Controllers remaining on the job, along with TSA agents. During this shutdown most national parks, including Yosemite, are expected to remain mostly accessible.