The federal government shut down at midnight on the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, as Republican lawmakers failed to approve a spending bill.
Massive confusion spread through federal bureaucracy ahead of the shutdown deadline, after Trump administration officials painted radically different scenarios of whether basic governmental functions would continue or halt.
Some Republican House members said they would prefer to leave town after passing a one-month funding bill Thursday night, to put the onus on the Senate to prevent a shutdown, but Trump had to cancel a $100,000 per plate fundraising event in Florida to grapple with the crisis.
The House on Thursday passed mostly on party lines a temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would keep Washington open and running for a month, the fourth such measure enacted since the GOP took over all three branches of the federal government.
A Senate procedural vote on a stopgap spending bill was to avoid a partial government shutdown is slated for 10 p.m. ET, but congressional leaders could not muster the 60 votes needed to advance the measure even after three Democratic senators — Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN), and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) — agreed to support the GOP bill.
A handful of Republican senators said they would not vote for the month-long spending bill.
“Republicans in Congress and the President are playing a cynical game in a potential government shutdown,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “They are trying to hold children and Dreamers hostage in a maneuver that is really about closing down the government. This looming shutdown will have major consequences on the people of the United States. If there is a shutdown, it will affect our quality of life but more importantly our public health and safety.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, met with Trump at the White House on Friday to discuss a path forward to avoid a shutdown.
The same day, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s personal lawyer paid off pornographic actress Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an affair that was alleged to have taken place in 2006 with the president, who had been married for a year and a half to Melania Trump, now the first lady, at a time when their son Barron was four months old.
Startlingly, the main stream news media seems to have largely ignored that story, as official White House antics and genuine emergencies manufactured by the Republicans outpace the bizarre behavior and possible criminality of the president.
Also on on Friday, Trump signed a bill into law to renew a controversial spy program, reauthorizing what is known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The program has faced opposition ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details about the government’s secret spying on American citizens.
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