Partial shutdown begins amid border wall fight

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Before the adjournment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced there would be no action on the floor until Trump and Senate Democrats come to an agreement.

Funding for roughly a quarter of the federal government expires at midnight, including appropriations for the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Housing and Urban Development and other parts of the government.

- A United States government shutdown appeared more and more likely to become a reality just before Christmas, with President Donald Trump threatening a "very long" federal work stoppage unless Democrats agree to his border wall demands.

Afterward, he posted: "The crisis of illegal activity at our Southern Border is real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall".

The bill passed the House on a 217-185 vote and heads to the Senate for a high-noon showdown Friday. More than 420,000 employees will be required to work without pay and an additional 380,000 would be sent home, according to a fact sheet compiled by Senate Democrat staffers.

This legislation has already been introduced in both the House and Senate, and it has already passed the Senate.

A government shutdown is typically an unlikely occurrence and is virtually unheard of under unified party control, underscoring the dysfunction that's become normal in Washington even with a GOP-controlled Congress and White House through year's end. President Trump had insisted he would not sign any spending bill that did not include $5 billion for the border wall. Schumer says Democrats are "open to discussing any proposal as long as they do not include anything for the wall". That jump-started negotiations between Congress and the White House.

In the past, the vast majority of national parks were closed to visitors and campers, but beginning with the last government shutdown, in January, the Interior Department has tried to make parks as accessible as possible despite bare-bones staffing levels.

The statement continues on: "President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted". The Statue of Liberty was still open for tours, thanks to funding from NY state, and the U.S. Post Office was still delivering mail, as an independent agency.

As with other departments, the shutdown only affects the department's appropriated funds.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said he returned to the Lone Star state Thursday only to get back on an early Friday morning flight to Washington.

Social Security and annuity payments to federal retirees will still go out as scheduled. He has introduced legislation to fund Trump's border wall project.

At the Department of Homeland Security, about 55,000 Customs and Border Protection employees, about 55,000 Transportation Security Administration workers, about 44,000 Coast Guard employees, about 6,000 Secret Service employees and about 17,600 US Citizenship and Immigration Services workers will remain on the job through a shutdown.

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