WASHINGTON (AP) — White House negotiators left the Capitol late Friday, and the House and Senate adjourned without a spending deal, all but ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight with President Donald Trump demanding billions of dollars for his long-promised Mexican border wall.
Trump’s top envoys were straining to broker a last-minute compromise with Democrats and some of their own Republican Party’s lawmakers. But Vice President Mike Pence, incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and senior adviser Jared Kushner departed after hours spent dashing back and forth, with no outward signs of an agreement.
“We’re going to have a shutdown,” Trump said via video message on Twitter less than three hours from the deadline. “There’s nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes.”
Trump added, “The shutdown hopefully will not last long.”
The shutdown, scheduled for midnight, would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas. Military bases such as Kern County’s own Edwards Air Force base are also due for a partial shutdown until a deal is reached. Senators passed legislation ensuring workers receive back pay; it will be sent to the House.
At a White House bill signing, Trump said the government was “totally prepared for a very long shutdown,” though hardly anyone thought a lengthy shutdown was likely.
The president tried to pin the blame on Democrats, even though just last week he said he would be “proud” to claim ownership of a shutdown in a fight for the wall. Campaigning for office in 2016, he had declared the wall would go up “so fast it will make your head spin.” He also promised Mexico would pay for it, which Mexico has said it will never do.
“This is our only chance that we’ll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security,” Trump said Friday at the White House. Democrats will take control of the House in January, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.
Looking for a way to claim victory, Trump said he would accept money for a “Steel Slat Barrier” with spikes on the top, which he said would be just as effective as a “wall” and “at the same time beautiful.”