(CNS News) – An estimated 25 percent of the federal government shutdown at midnight on Friday night because the U.S. Senate would not pass—or even vote on—a House-passed continuing resolution that would fund that part of the government and that included money to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The CR that the House passed earlier this week included $5.7 billion for the border wall—which met President Donald Trump’s request for border wall funding.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Friday to declare that Senate Democrats would not support border-wall funding, period.
“President Trump, you will not get your wall,” Schumer said. “Abandon your shutdown strategy. You are not getting the wall today, next week, or on January 3 when Democrats take control of the House.”
Trump countered with a video that he tweeted out on Friday in which he restated his position that the United States must have a border wall.
“Our great country must have border security,” Trump said. “We don’t want people coming in who aren’t supposed to be here. We want people to come in through a legal process.
“It’s very dangerous out there. Drugs are pouring in, human trafficking, so many different problems, including gangs like MS-13,” said Trump. “We don’t want them in the United States. We don’t want them in our country.”
“The only thing that’s going to stop that is great border security—with a wall or a slat fence or whatever you want to call it,” Trump said. “But we need a great barrier, and if we don’t have it, it is never going to work.
“Last night, the House of Representatives passed this very important bill 217-185,” Trump said. “Some people were surprised by the number. I wasn’t. Because everybody wants to see our border protected.
“Now it is up to the Senate and it’s really up to the Democrats because we need their votes,” Trump said. “There is no way it can pass without their votes.
“We are going to have a shutdown. There is nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes,” he said.
“Call it a Democrat shutdown,” Trump said. “Call it whatever you want. But we need their help to get this approved. So, Democrats we have a wonderful list of things that we need to keep our country safe. Let’s get out and let’s work together, let’s be bipartisan, and let’s get it done. The shutdown, hopefully, will not last long.”
Senate Democrats are able to block the wall—and shutdown the as-yet-unfunded part of the federal government—because there are only 51 Republicans in the Senate. In order to invoke cloture and end debate on a piece of legislation, the Senate needs 60 votes out of its 100 members rather than a simple majority.
Congress has already enacted, and President Trump has already signed, appropriations laws funding most of the government through fiscal 2019, which runs through next September. The already-passed appropriations laws signed by Trump include those for the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services. These are the two largest—and most expensive—federal agencies.
“Having already funded 75 percent of the government on time with broad bipartisan support, I am disappointed that we could not come to an agreement on the remaining 25 percent,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R.-Ala.) said on Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lamented yesterday that it would be more than 800,000 federal employees would not be paid “over the holidays.”
“More than 800,000 federal employees will be forced to go without pay over the holidays–including 420,000 federal employees who still have to show up to work, including,” she said.