A bitterly divided Senate couldn’t get the votes needed Friday to pass a short-term spending bill, forcing the federal government to shut down at the stroke of midnight, the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s first year in office.
The Senate fell 10 votes short of the 60 needed to keep the government running until mid-February. Republicans and Democrats are at an impasse over protections for young immigrants, known as dreamers, who were brought to the country by their parents without proper documentation.
Although the Senate attempted to negotiate throughout the weekend in hopes of reaching an agreement before the work week began on Monday, they failed to do so. However, they have scheduled a vote for noon Monday on a bill that will restore spending and reopen the government. Under that proposal, the Mercury News reported, Democrats would agree to funding for three weeks in exchange for a commitment from Republican Senate leaders to address immigration policy in the coming weeks.
It's unclear whether they will have enough Democratic votes to pass the measure. Democrats want Trump to sign an earlier agreement to protect the dreamers.
And the White House said it wasn't budging on immigration. Indeed, the White House issued a statement Saturday blaming the Democrats for the shutdown and insisting it wouldn’t negotiate on immigration until funding was restored.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement released on Twitter. “This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.”
Meanwhile, both sides were blaming one another for the impasse. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blamed Trump, calling it the “Trump Shutdown.”
The White House, in its statement on Twitter, wants it to be known as “SchumerShutdown.”
Impact on health programs
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a contingency staffing plan on Friday in the event of a shutdown. HHS will put 50%, or 40,959 staff, on furlough beginning today. The furloughs will be across agencies and offices and would mean the following programs would stop during the shutdown:
- Indian Health Services won’t provide funding to Tribes and Urban Indian health programs.
- Health Resources and Services Administration will stop making payments to the Children’s Hospital GME Program and Vaccine Injury Compensation Claims.
- Administration for Children and Families will not process quarterly formula grants for Social Services Block Grant, Child Welfare Services and the Community Service Block Grant programs.
- Administration for Community Living won’t fund the Senior Nutrition programs, Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services, Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, Protection and Advocacy for persons with developmental disabilities or Independent Living Centers and services.
- National Institutes of Health will not admit new patients (unless deemed medically necessary by the NIH Director) or initiate new protocols, and would discontinue some veterinary services. NIH will not take any actions on grant applications or awards.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will put disease-surveillance activities not directly related to the protection of lime and limiting disease progression on hold. It won’t support most non-communicable disease prevention programs but will continue to respond to urgent disease outbreaks, such as the current flu epidemic.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will not fund new grants or monitor health services research initiatives, including research on improving patient safety and reducing healthcare-associated infections.
- The Food and Drug Administration will stop inspections and compliance and enforcement activities.
- Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will stop activities related to medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging threats, the Hospital Preparedness Program, and will not fully staff the National Disaster Medical System.
- Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will be unable to continue work on standards coordination, implementation, and testing as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act and the 21st Century Cures (Cures) Act. It also will be unable to increase interoperability and coordinate federal efforts to ensure improvements of usability related to the use of health IT. ONC will not continue working with its partners to combat information blocking and advance other policy and rulemaking activities as required under the Cures Act.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22.