WASHINGTON — A partial shutdown of the federal government went into effect at midnight Friday, as both chambers of Congress adjourned without reaching a spending deal including President Donald Trump’s demand for increased spending on a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
A deal had to be reached before the deadline to keep nine departments open, including the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security. Thousands of federal employees will work without pay, while thousands of others will be furloughed.
The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution Thursday with $5.7 billion for building a border wall, but the measure did not meet the 60-vote requirement to pass the Senate.
The Senate passed a different continuing resolution Wednesday evening by a voice vote which did not include Trump’s requested funding amount.
Trump put the blame for the shutdown on Senate Democrats, despite telling Democratic leaders last week he would take responsibility.
“Now, it’s up to the Senate, and it’s really up to the Democrats because we need their votes. There’s no way it can pass without their votes,” Trump said in a video message. “We’re going to have a shutdown. There’s nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes.”
“Democrats, we have a wonderful list of things we need to keep our country safe,” he added. “Let’s get out, let’s work together, let’s be bipartisan and let’s get it done. The shutdown hopefully will not last long.”
U.S. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., voted in favor of the House’s continuing resolution, which passed in a 217-185 vote. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted in favor of advancing legislation with Trump’s requested funding. Vice President Mike Pence voted to move the 47-47 tally forward.
Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., returned to Charleston on Thursday thinking the House would pass the Senate’s measure. Both were back in Washington Friday.
Manchin voted against the resolution, saying in a statement the continuing resolution would have cut money from the Black Lung Disability Fund and additionally did not include funding for coal miners’ pensions, including the pensions of 26,000 retired miners and widows in West Virginia.
“Earlier this week, I allowed a clean CR to proceed because I was told it was the only thing that could pass and I got assurances that the cuts to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund funding stream would be stopped. Clearly, that plan is no longer credible,” he said. “I was also told that miners’ pensions would be handled as soon as we got back. So I am taking a stand for our miners today.”
Manchin serves on the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, which is supposed to come up with a solution for funding pensions by the end of this year.
“Let me be perfectly clear: I support funding the border wall. I have voted for every border wall funding bill that has come before the Senate from $1.6 to $46 billion, and I will continue to support border wall funding,” he added.
“However, a bill that funds border security but devastates our brave mining families is a bad bill, and there is no rational reason we can’t have both – border security and keeping our promise to miners.”