The US government stopped operating at 12:01 a.m. after Senate Democrats blocked passage of a stopgap spending bill.
The Senate is going home for the night after failing to reach an agreement to quickly end the shutdown. It will reconvene at noon.
WEB DESK / Washington
The Much of the US federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, showing remarkable solidarity in the face of a clear political danger, blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.
Despite last minute bipartisan meetings, the bill to fund the government until 16 February did not receive the required 60 votes.
It is the first shutdown ever to happen while the same party, the Republicans, controls Congress and the White House.
In response, the White House accused Democrats of holding “lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands”.
The shutdown, coming one year to the day after President Trump took office, set off a new round of partisan recriminations and posed risks for both parties. It came after a fruitless last-minute negotiating session at the White House between Mr. Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.
With just 50 senators voting in favor, Senate Republican leaders fell well short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed on the spending measure, which had passed the House on Thursday. Five conservative state Democrats voted for the spending measure. Five Republicans voted against it, although one of those, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, did so for procedural reasons.
As the clock ticked toward midnight, when funding for the government was set to expire, senators huddled on the floor of the crowded Senate chamber, searching for some way forward.
Then, in the early morning hours, Mr. McConnell proposed a measure that would keep the government open for another three weeks, not four as the House measure would have done, and said the Senate would come back to into session at noon Saturday.
President Donald Trump in a tweet yesterday acknowledged that Democratic votes are needed to keep the government funded but said that their demand for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, meant they favored illegal immigration to the United States.
Democrats are demanding prompt congressional votes on DACA reform package that would shield from deportation hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. The last US shutdown happened in 2013 over health care policy lasted for 16 days.