The U.S. government was shut down Saturday after lawmakers failed to approve a spending bill amid a standoff between Democrats and Republicans over immigration reform. Only workers deemed essential will continue to work.
Because the shutdown begins on a Saturday, the effects will be muted until Monday, when hundreds of thousands of federal employees are due to show up for work. Federal workers who are deemed essential, such as public safety and national security personnel, will keep working.
Lawmakers worked all through the day on Friday to find a compromise, but no deal was reached by the midnight deadline. A procedural vote to advance a bill that would have kept the government running through February 16 failed with nearly all Democrats voting against.
Negotiations were continuing on early Saturday morning in the hopes of reaching an agreement on a shorter stopgap spending bill, possibly as short as 4 or 5 days. But the White House said in a statement just before midnight that it would refuse to negotiate immigration reform.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”
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