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U.S. government shutdown begins as spending bill fails in Senate
World | politics | 12:23, 20 January 2018 | 1366

AKIPRESS.COM - The U.S. government officially shut down at midnight on Friday after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a last-minute deal to fund its operations, divided in a bitter dispute over immigration and border security, Reuters said.

In a dramatic late-night session, senators blocked a bill to extend government funding through Feb. 16. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate but fell short with only 50 supporting it.

Most Democrats opposed the bill because their efforts to include protections for hundreds of thousands for the young immigrants known as Dreamers failed.

Huddled negotiations by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in the last minutes before midnight were unsuccessful, and the U.S. government technically ran out of money at midnight.

The shutdown formally began on Saturday, the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Trump’s administration immediately sought to blame Democrats.

“Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” the White House said in a statement.

The Trump administration said it would not discuss immigration until the government is up and running again. “When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders, we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform,” the statement said.

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