The Government Shut Downs After Failed Vote

A procedural vote to proceed with a spending bill failed late Friday night.

Ting Shen/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The federal government shut down at midnight Saturday, following the failure of last-minute budget negotiations to create a stopgap solution to protect the nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. The nail-biting showdown coincides with the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration—a milestone Democrats are portraying as a glaring failure of leadership, given that Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress but were unable to muster the votes to pass the bill.

A critical procedural vote needed for the motion to proceed failed around 10:30 p.m. All but five Democrats appeared to vote “No”, joined by four Republicans: Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Lindsay Graham (S.C.).

Republicans, though, are doing their best to sidestep blame, claiming Democrats are holding government hostage to their demands. Earlier on Friday, OMB director Mick Mulvaney said the White House was preparing for “what we’re calling the ‘Schumer shutdown.’”

As Mother Jones’ Kara Voght reports, only about half of federal agencies have publicly shared up-to-date contingency plans in the event of a shutdown. So many people could be screwed by the shutdown—including the president himself, whose social life took a hit Friday night when, with an agreement unsecured, he canceled his trip to Mar-a-Lago. It remains to be seen if he’ll resume his plans to celebrate one year in office Saturday with a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at the resort.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend