As Monday comes in Washington, D.C, about 800,000 federal employees will have their work week disrupted as the partial government shutdown that began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, December 22 continues into Christmas Eve. Approximately 380,000 workers will remain home through unpaid furloughs, but 420,000 essential personnel will be required to work for free to keep the U.S. government running.
Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has offered to provide $1.3 billion for border security enhancement, which had the potential to pass in both houses, but not the money requested for the proposed southern border wall demanded by the commander in chief. President Donald Trump said a little over a week ago that he would be “proud” to shutdown the government to get his wall, considering Republicans in the House of Representatives will become the minority party in power on January 3.
Late Thursday night, after conservative leaders urged Trump not to “cave in” to Democrats, the Republican House majority passed the funding measure contingent on the President’s request for at least $5 billion in funding to construct his campaign promise of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Regardless, the Senate adjourned without deliberating the $5.7 billion measure from the lower chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained that even the votes needed to pass the bill with a simple, 51-member majority were not there. Some GOP senators, including Jeff Flake (R-AZ), reportedly sent letters to the office of the majority leader claiming they would not vote to pass a measure that included funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
While the Senate is set to reconvene on December 27, what remains uncertain is the length of the government shutdown. Since Trump has been fairly unpredictable as to what he will sign – like the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill in March – it is unclear if the Senate will continue with hearing requests for wall funding like the president wants, or strip it from the package and send it back to the House.
President Trump insisted during an Oval Office meeting last week that he would take ownership of a partial government shutdown over the U.S.-Mexico border wall. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” he reiterated. However, just days later, Trump went to Twitter to say that “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”