Senate Procedural Vote Slow, Shutdown Looms

En route to a meeting at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, walks with Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as work continues prior to a Friday night funding deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
En route to a meeting at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, walks with Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as work continues prior to a Friday night funding deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The vote that would have advanced a bill to keep the government from partially shutting down at midnight dragged on in the U.S. Senate on Friday, a sign that, barring some pre-holiday miracle, the government will partially shut down at midnight Friday.

The vote fell largely along party lines: By mid-afternoon, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona was the sole Republican voting no. Votes continued through the afternoon as some senators needed to return to Washington to vote, having already left D.C. for the winter break.

During the vote, President Donald Trump went on camera calling the looming shutdown "a Democratic shutdown," despite saying earlier this week that he "owned it," and would be proud to see if happen if it meant getting funding for a border wall.

"We are prepared for a very long shutdown. This is the only time we will be able to get great border security," he said.

According to media reports, Senate leaders held a closed-door luncheon to discuss their next steps on averting or dealing with a shutdown.

"There are not the votes in the Senate for an extensive tax-supported border wall. Mr. President, you are not getting your wall," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The House on Thursday passed a bill in a 217 to 185 vote that would have prevented a partial government shutdown, funding much of the government through Feb. 8, 2019. That bill included $5.7 billion for the wall. Senate Democrats have stood firm on the Senate version of the bill that passed earlier this week, which includes $1.6 billion for border security.

The shutdown would affect portions of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Treasury, State and Homeland Security, as well as several key agencies.

It would not affect the Defense or Veterans Affairs departments. However, the branch of the armed services that resides outside DoD, the Coast Guard, would be affected.

According to a source with knowledge of the government's furlough plans, the hardest hit agency would be the National Science Foundation, where 97 percent of personnel would be furloughed. At the National Air and Space Administration and Housing and Urban Development, 95 percent would be furloughed. Roughly 15 percent of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Coast Guard, would go on furlough.

The shutdown would be the third this year. The federal government shut down Jan. 20-Jan. 22 in a dispute over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy, and it shut down Feb. 9 for nine hours, the result of a legislative funding gap. Federal employees were not affected by the February closure.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at patriciankime@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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