WASHINGTON – The White House has blamed the Democratic Party for the shutdown of the United States federal government after the Senate failed to agree on a new budget on Friday night.
After late night bipartisan negotiations, Senators were unable to pass a bill to approve funding for the federal government.
Democrats have refused to negotiate with Republicans until an agreement is reached that protects the status of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, known as “Dreamers.”
These so-called Dreamers had been protected from deportation under a Barack Obama-era policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
US President Donald Trump repealed DACA last year, and has given Congress until March to propose new legislation.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,” a White House statement said.
“When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform,” it added.
In the hours shortly before the midnight deadline expired, Trump warned on Twitter that a failure to approve a new budget would impact on the US’s “great military and Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border. Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy,” referring to the tax reform passed in November last year.
More than 800,000 federal employees will be on unpaid leave until members of Congress agree on the funding.
The federal government shutdown has coincided with Trump’s first anniversary in the White House.