WASHINGTON – A partial government shutdown has been in effect for 16 days now.
Funding for nine executive departments expired at midnight on Dec. 22, 2018.
Hours after the 116th Congress convened last Wednesday the newly installed Democratic majority in the House of Representatives passed a series of stop-gap measures to reopen the government. Seven Republicans supported the legislation.
But the Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider the legislation because it did not include $5.6 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Congressional Democrats oppose the wall. They have instead offered $1.3 billion for border security.
Trump has refused to back down from his demand for a wall. He has said he is willing to allow the shutdown to continue until a concession is granted. Furthermore, Trump has said he has not ruled out the possibility of declaring a national emergency in order to build the wall.
Meetings took place throughout the weekend between administration officials and Congressional Democratic leaders. No agreement was reached.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation on Sunday to reopen the government. The package consists of four bills the Senate passed during the previous congress. A vote is expected sometime this week.
The legislation is expected to be dead-on-arrival in the Senate-just like the stop-gap measures passed by the House last week.
Maryland Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin represent a large swath of federal workers, many of whom are going without pay. They tweeted this weekend that the Senate should postpone consideration of any legislation that does not pertain to reopening the government.
Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government. Mitch, don’t delay. Let’s vote!
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 5, 2019
Agreed. This isn’t business as usual. This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it.
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) January 6, 2019