Government officially enters partial shutdown
The government partially shut down Saturday at midnight after the House and Senate failed to pass a spending bill. President Trump had insisted he would not sign any spending bill that did not include $5 billion for the border wall.
The partial shutdown won’t have much effect on your holiday plans. The post office will stay open, so gift and holiday card stragglers can still put them in the mail. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents would still work, and air travel would continue virtually unaffected.
Government employees who are considered “essential,” such as Secret Service agents and Customs and Border Patrol agents and U.S. troops deployed at the border, would still be working. They will eventually get paid for the days they worked during the shutdown, but they won’t be paid until after it ends.
Funding that expired at midnight Saturday covers the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the State Department, the Interior Department, the Departure of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among some other federal entities.
The Office of Management and Budget — the office still run by incoming acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — has issued guidance to each agency and each agency would develop its own shutdown plan. Federal agencies must halt all “non-essential” discretionary work and so-called non-essential employees must stay home until new funding legislation is signed into law.
Trump says shutdown will last a “very long time”
Mr. Trump tweeted a shutdown could last a “long time” if it happens.
But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders offered no details Friday morning as to how long a “very long time” could be.”
Unclear if the president has an alternative plan
If and when the Senate does vote down the short-term spending bill, it’s unclear what will come next.
Mr. Trump tweeted that if the Senate doesn’t vote for the bill, there will be a shutdown. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was unable to answer when asked repeatedly by CBS News whether the president has an alternative plan.
Senate expected to vote around noon
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill the House passed the night before around noon. The House passed the bill 217-185.
The bill the Senate will be voting on is a short-term spending bill that would fund the government into early February, with $5 billion to fund the president’s border wall and $8 billion for disaster relief.
Trump wants McConnell to go for the “nuclear option”
Mr. Trump tweeted he wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to go for the “nuclear option” in the Senate, meaning he wants the majority leader to lower the threshold needed to pass a spending bill from 60 votes to a simple majority.
But McConnell has refused to do so multiple times in the past, because he knows Democrats could and likely will control the Senate again one day in the future — and that would be a disaster for Republicans.
Plus, McConnell would need at least 50 Republican senators to make the so-called nuclear option possible. He can’t do it alone.
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
GOP senators to meet with Trump at White House
Republican senators are heading to the White House to meet with President Trump at 10:30 a.m. Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed in a tweet.
President Trump will meet with Senate Republicans this morning at 10:30am to discuss the Funding Bill and the importance of Border Security,” she wrote.
It’s unclear yet which senators will be in attendance.
Trump claims Democrats “now own” shutdown, despite previously taking credit for it
Mr. Trump tweeted Friday morning that Democrats “now own” the shutdown.
That’s despite repeatedly saying last week, in and following a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that he would not blame them in the event of a shutdown.
Last week, Mr. Trump had a very different tone with the Democrats.
“You want to know something? I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” the president said at the time.
“I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”
Many National Parks to remain open
The National Parks will remain “as accessible as possible,” according to National Park Service Chief Spokesperson Jeremy Barnum.
But that doesn’t they will be fully accessible.
“In the event of a government shutdown national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures,” Barnum said. “For example, this means that roads that have already been open will remain open (think snow removal) and vault toilets (wilderness type restrooms) will remain open. However services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds and full service restrooms, will not be operating.”
Whatever happens, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced earlier in the day that the Grand Canyon will remain open to the public. That includes trails, shuttles, and restrooms, according to a plan Ducey’s office says he put in place.
“Regardless of what happens in Washington, the Grand Canyon will not close on our watch,” Ducey said. “Arizona knows how to work together. We have a plan in place and we’re ready to go. If you have plans to visit the Grand Canyon over the weekend, keep ’em. The Grand Canyon will remain open.”
Republican senators reject “nuclear” option
To invoke the “nuclear” option, which McConnell has rejected in the past, he would need at least 50 GOP senators to vote with him. But Republicans began voicing their opposition to a “nuclear” option Friday morning, dimming the president’s hopes of passing his wall funding with that route.
“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option. Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming their opposition, and confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road,” McConnell spokesperson Don Stewart said in a statement.
Here’s what would happen to each agency
The Smithsonian will send out an update with details about their museums and the National Zoo. This includes info about the Panda Cams and Zoo Lights – more detail will be provided.
The National Mall is open at this time. In the event of a shutdown they will send out an update with more information.
The Transportation Security Administration will be operating as normal, at least, as far as travelers can be concerned.
Department of Transportation:
If there is a shutdown, air traffic control will continue.
— Reporting by CBS News’ Clare Hymes
Here are the agencies affected
The following agencies will partly close down at midnight:
- Department of Homeland Security
- Justice Department
- State Department
- Interior Department
- Departure of Agriculture
- Department of Housing and Urban Development