The Federal Government Is Shutting Down

The Senate rejected House Republicans' latest budget bill, setting the stage for the government to close down at midnight.
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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The federal government has shut down.

Despite a month of debate and a week of frantic legislative maneuvering, Congress was unable to bridge its fundamental schism: Senate Democrats pledged not to pass any budget bill that cut into Obamacare, and Republicans promised they would reject any bill that didn’t.

Neither side blinked, and so — for the first time in 17 years — the federal government will go unfunded.

House Republicans’ last-ditch bid to reach a deal collapsed Monday night when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected their call to negotiate over a GOP bill that would keep the government funded but would bar health-care subsidies for members of Congress, their staffs, the president, his cabinet, and political appointees.

Reid rejected the offer, saying he would enter budget negotiations only after the House passed his party’s bill to keep the government open.

The House will remain in session until 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, but the sun will rise Tuesday on a closed federal government: Reid shuttered the Senate shortly after midnight, saying his colleagues would not return until 9:30 Tuesday morning.

Here’s a full recap of how we got here Monday, as well as the latest updates from the House.

Contributions from Tim Alberta, Matt Berman, Michael Catalini, Tom DeFrank, Catherine Hollander, Billy House, Elahe Izadi, Marina Koren, Patrick Reis, and Dustin Volz


UPDATE: 12:08 a.m.: The Senate Is Done

As the federal government shut down, shortly after midnight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the floor that the Senate would recess until Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.
 
With the House set to vote later in the night on a measure that will insist on their resolution and call for a conference, Reid said the Senate would return tomorrow and vote to table the House's request. "The ball is in their court," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said of House Republicans. -- Shane Goldmacher and Michael Catalini

UPDATE: 11:50 p.m.: It's a Shutdown

The Office of Management and Budget has sent out a memo calling on federal agencies to "execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations." OMB Director Sylvia Burwell called on Congress to "act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution," but as we've all learned today, that's just a funny joke that isn't yet happening. 
 
If you put your money on shutdown, congratulations. If you're a government employee, now's the time to find out just how essential you are. -- Matt Berman

UPDATE 11:28 p.m.: Latest From the House Rules Committee

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Tex., said Monday night that House Republicans are hoping to bring all sides to the negotiating table and resolve the two-chamber differences.

But even before the committee was to formally vote on the go-to-conference measure, shortly after 11 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., shot it down.

And it wasn't just Senate Democrats giving Sessions problems. House Rules Committee top Democrat Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., called the measure another Republican “fancy two-step.”

The formation of a conference would entail the appointment of some House Republicans and Democrats, and Senate Republicans and Democrats, to hash out budget differences. But the procedures involved – and the negotiations -- could not be accomplished before the shutdown deadline.

Democrats were further outraged that House Republicans were pushing such a proposal after having refused for months to go to conference on a full-year’s budget. -- Billy House

UPDATE: 11:05 p.m.: Reid: "We Will Not Go to Conference Until We Get a Clean CR"

So says the Senate majority leader on the Senate floor. Speaking of the Republicans, Reid said that "they want to close government." After Reid, Sen. Chuck Schumer came to the floor to back up his leader. "I kind of feel sorry for Speaker Boehner," the New York Democrat sad. Both senators, speaking largely from the same talking points, said that they wouldn't go to a conference with a gun to their collective head. 
 
Up next: A press conference with Nancy Pelosi at 11:15-- Matt Berman
 
UPDATE: 10:54 p.m. -- Yeah ... we're shutting down.
 
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeted to members that the House will vote tonight on a motion that contains the anti-Obamacare CR amendments they passed earlier this evening and a request for a conference with the Senate. We don't know yet who will be in the conference, or even if the Senate will accept such a deal this late in the game. 
 
But, with only an hour to go until a shutdown is official, it looks like the government won't be funded after midnight. Now we'll have to wait to see how long it'll last. -- Matt Berman
 
UPDATE 10:31 p.m. -- 1.5 Hours Until Shutdown: Obama Signs Pay Our Military Bill
Around 10 p.m. Monday night, President Obama signed into law the Pay Our Military Act, legislation that provides continuing appropriations for pay for the military, shutdown or no shutdown. Congress passed the bill earlier today.— Marina Koren

UPDATE: 10:30 p.m. -- 1.5 Hours to Shutdown: Towards a Conference?

A new potential path forward emerged late Monday in the Senate. A bipartisan group of senators tried to forge a new consensus around going to conference with the House late Monday. But in order for that to work, the House and Senate leaders would have to both agree. 
 
"What we are trying to figure out is what the House is able to do," Sen. Lisa Murkowski told National Journal. "It's really easy to do Monday morning quarterbacking from here." 
 
Asked whether she thinks the group would avert a shutdown she said, "No," but crossed her fingers so a reporter was certain to see. Murkowski also acknowledged that the plan would be politically risky for House Speaker John Boehner. 
 
"Boy oh boy, if we had the plan, we'd get it over to the House," she said. 
 
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet now to discuss a conference.
 
Nine senators, including Rob Portman, R-Ohio, James Risch, R-Idaho, Jeanne, Shaheen, D-N.H., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ron Kirk, R-Ill, and Murkowski huddled on the Senate floor among themselves.  -- Michael Catalini
 
UPDATE: 10:00 p.m. -- 2 Hours Until Shutdown: Sen. Cornyn: Shutdown's Coming
 
Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said he's heard the House Republicans may volley over yet another bill to fund the government that Senate Democrats would likely reject, this time attaching a provision related to medical device tax in the health care law.

Asked if he thought the government would shut down, he told 

National Journal, "I do."

"I feel like that's what Senator Reid and the president want," he said. -- Shane Goldmacher

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. -- 2.5 Hours Until Shutdown: Sen. Schumer to Republicans: It’s Time to Abandon Cruz

With the continuing resolution back in the hands of the House, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., said late Monday that it’s time for that chamber’s Republicans to take a leaf out of Peter King’s book. The Republican representative abandoned his party’s plan today and voted to table the House’s latest CR. 

“There are large numbers in the Republican House caucus who know this is wrong,” Schumer told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. “Very few have the courage of Pete King to stand up and say so. But privately, they admit it. And I think that—god forbid, we shut down the government—there is going to be such a reaction against them that they’re going to have to back off, hopefully after a few days.” Schumer said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is keeping House Republicans under his thumb, “even though [they] know it's wrong, [they] know it's irrational.”

A clean CR could pull some Republicans out from under the pressure Schumer claims is forcing them to vote along party lines. -- Marina Koren

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. -- 2.5 Hours Until Shutdown: McCain: Americans "Will Blame Congress"
 
Sen. John McCain said tonight that Congress will ultimately bear the brunt of public blame if the government shuts down after midnight.

“The American people will blame Congress," the Arizona senator told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “That’s not some clairvoyance on my point, that’s polling data.”

McCain, who offered some defense to House Republicans who are still attempting to defund Obamacare because they “campaigned on and said they would go to Washington” to repeal it, also warned that this shutdown could be more severe than previous ones.

“The impact of the shutdown of the government, since we haven’t passed a single appropriations bill, will be more immediate and impactful,” McCain said. He maintained that efforts by the House GOP would continue to be fruitless.
“I’ve seen this movie before. We will not repeal Obamacare, at least in this fashion.” -- Dustin Volz

 

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