WASHINGTON: The US government officially shut down on Saturday, the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, after lawmakers failed to agree on a new budget.
Senators were still negotiating on the Senate floor as the clock turned midnight, but Trump’s office issued a statement blaming opposition Democrats for the crisis.
The last shutdown happened in 2013 and lasted for 16 days, during which many federal employees took a forced leave of absence.
Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Democrats’ insistence that the interim measure include protection for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children killed the deal.
“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” she declared, referring to the minority leader, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who met with Trump earlier Friday.
“Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” she warned.
US federal services and military operations deemed essential will continue, but thousands of government workers will be sent home without pay until the crisis is resolved.
Hundreds of thousands of US government defense workers, park rangers and business regulators could be temporarily out of work.
But the looming government shutdown due to lack of funding — which would be the second in five years — does not mean every office closes its doors.
[image: US government shuts down]
Vital services will still be provided by law enforcement, immigration officers, the central bank, veterans’ hospitals and the military.
During the two-week shutdown in October 2013, around 800,000 workers were furloughed.
This time, about 850,000 workers, out of a total 3.5 million, could be told to stay home — without pay — until Congress reaches an agreement, the American Federation of Government Employees estimates.
The following is a rundown of who is and isn’t affected in a government shutdown:
Defense, security and borders
The 1.5 million uniformed members of the US military, mostly in the Defense Department but also 40,000 with the Department of Homeland Security, will remain at work.
“All military personnel performing active duty will continue in a normal duty status,” the Pentagon ordered Thursday.
But a large number of civilians in both departments, including about three-fourths of the roughly 740,000 civilians who work for the Pentagon, will stay home.
That will slow many operations, and could impact the huge defense private sector, which depends on Pentagon contracts.
Officials of the Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services will remain on the job checking and processing people entering the country by land, sea and air.