Updated Dec 21, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Partial government shutdown sets in over border wall stalemate

Illustration of Capitol Building being split in two by border wall

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House of Representatives and the Senate have been adjourned until Saturday at noon, indicating a partial government shutdown will take effect tonight at midnight.

Driving the news: The Senate passed a procedural vote Friday evening to take up a short-term spending bill passed by the House. But Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, who were initially against the motion to proceed, said they switched their vote with the understanding that the Senate will not vote again until both chambers of Congress and President Trump can come to a consensus on border wall funding.

The backdrop:

  • In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed forward on a procedural motion, but he doesn't seem to have the votes to pass a bill with border funding.
  • The House passed a bill with border cash last night. If the stalemate goes until January, Democrats are in the driver seat.
  • Trump sent VP Mike Pence, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and son-in-law Jared Kushner to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The big picture: "The shutdown, scheduled for midnight, would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas," the AP reports.

Between the lines: Trump has resumed his longtime campaign to get McConnell to abandon the filibuster. Don't expect this to happen, Axios' Caitlin Owens emails.

  • Senate institutionalists believe that the filibuster makes the Senate work the way it’s supposed to — in a slow, bipartisan manner.
  • Republicans will be wary of blowing the filibuster now when Democrats are about to take the House and won’t pass any Republican priorities. It also could backfire if and when Democrats eventually retake the Senate.

What's next: Lawmakers will return Saturday at noon to continue negotiations.

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