The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday – halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction.
Senate Republicans fell far short of passing a procedural motion that would have kept the federal government funded, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. The final vote was 50-49.
Five Democrats who represent Trump-country red states crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans, but the GOP lost four of its own, erasing any doubts about the state of partisan bickering in the US Capitol.
While the clerk held the vote open – Republicans John McCain and Mitch McConnell refrained from voting so nothing could be finalized – a bipartisan group of 15 senators huddled on the Senate floor to discuss a path forward.
The recalcitrant Democrats included four who are up for re-election this year – Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri – along with Alabamian Doug Jones, who took his Senate seat just days ago in a bright red state.
Despite hours of attempted negotiations, talks failed and the shutdown was finalized, and quickly the blame game began.