USA government shutdown begins- and so does the finger-pointing

US shutdown extended

Democrats opposed the short-term spending bill because it did not include protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children, or "DREAMers", and also did not address a broad array of other domestic spending priorities.

President Trump is losing trust in negotiations with Senate Democratic leaders after they repeatedly mischaracterized talks on the government shutdown and immigration, said a top White House adviser.

The Senate set a vote for 12 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Monday on advancing a measure to provide temporary government funding through February 8, end the shutdown and allow hundreds of thousands of federal employees to return to work.

A bipartisan group of senators had been lobbying Democratic and Republican leadership Sunday on the compromise measure, but an expected early Monday morning vote was called off at the last minute, and delayed until mid-day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking from the chamber floor after it reconvened Sunday afternoon, blasted Democrats for not supporting a temporary spending bill on Friday that would have kept the government funded until February 16 by saying it "is pure folly".

According to media reports, senators will vote to end the shutdown with a short-term spending bill that would last three weeks. Many Democrats are concerned that McConnell won't follow through on holding an immigration vote or that, even if he does, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) won't do the same.

Congress reconvened for a rare Saturday session, where leaders of both sides were meant to hammer out their differences to prevent the shutdown from stretching to today.

Several Senate Democrats who supported the agreement are facing competitive reelection battles in 2018 in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

"With shifting stances and with the finger pointing coming from Trump on Twitter, it remains to be seen when and if a compromise to reopen the federal government will occur", she said.

U.S. 101 near reopening after California mudslide
Officials had previously promised that the highway would be open again in time for the Monday morning commute. Still listed as missing were 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa and 17-year-old Jack Cantin, officials said.

"Unfortunately, we can not answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding - including funding for our troops, and other national security priorities hostage to an unrelated immigration debate", the voice message says. But Republicans say no agreement will be reached while the government is shut down.

The White House has blamed the shutdown on Democrats, calling them "obstructionist losers" and accusing them of being more interested in illegal immigrants than in national security.

"In a few hours, the government will reopen", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer of NY.

After Trump's tweet, McConnell said on the Senate floor yesterday that he supports "the right (to filibuster) from an institutional point of view".

McConnell and the GOP won't change the Senate rules for a simple majority.

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Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats were bearing the brunt of criticism for the shutdown and that they would ultimately buckle. U.S. Senate reached 60 votes Monday to advance bill to end government shutdown. The Democrats seemed sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants in the USA illegally.

But even though the 60-vote threshold makes it hard for Republicans to pass their priorities, so far, there doesn't seem to be an appetite on either side of the aisle to get rid of the rule.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Trump had instructed him to ease the effects of the shutdown as much as possible.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that the shutdown would "get a lot worse" if federal workers have to stay home without pay.

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