Federal Government Shuts Down After Senate Talks Fail

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The federal government headed toward a shutdown late Friday night as a key vote appeared far short from having the support needed to pass and the midnight deadline came and went. 

The vote was held open for nearly an hour as Senate leaders sought to find a way out of the impasse that brought them to this moment. Senators milled around the floor as Washington waited for word of where Congress goes from here. 

Senate Democrats, demanding progress on the fate of those covered by the DACA program, huddled just off the Senate floor for more than hour prior the vote, after prospects of an agreement between Democrats, Republicans and the White House had already fallen apart. 

Democrats left an earlier caucus meeting stone-faced with few answers, but they placed the blame on Republicans and President Donald Trump for walking away from negotiations. 

Schumer presented a proposal to break the logjam to President Donald Trump in a mid-day meeting at the White House, according to multiple Democrats — a plan to fund the government over the next two years, including money for disaster aid, the low-income children’s health insurance program, opioid funding, border security and relief for those Dreamers covered by DACA. 

“I think Senator Schumer tried very hard to reach a responsible compromise on a wide-range of topics,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said. 

“We discussed all of the major outstanding issues, we made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue,” Schumer said immediately after the meeting. 

The spending bill that failed in Friday’s vote was the one passed by the House Thursday, which would have funded the government until Feb. 16, extended the low-income children’s health insurance program, or CHIP, for six years and suspended some Obamacare taxes for two years. 

Democrats withheld their support, demanding more progress on a Dreamers while some Republicans, frustrated with the spate of month-long spending bills, opposed any short-term solution.

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