U.S. Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol Building (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The federal government shutdown took effect at midnight Saturday even as Senate lawmakers continued to look for ways to strike a bipartisan deal.

CNN reported that it’s the first modern government shutdown with Congress and the White House controlled by the same party, and it comes on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The last government shutdown occurred in October 2013 with Democratic President Barack Obama in the White House but with Congress controlled by Republicans.

During that shutdown, about 850,000 federal employees were sent home, with a total of 6.6 million work days lost.

Hundreds of thousands of federal contractors, from janitorial and landscaping workers to engineers and scientists, were laid off temporarily.

National parks and museums shut down for more than two weeks, hurting tourism and nearby economies.

Day care centers, grocery stores and youth sports programs at military bases were all closed due to lack of civilian employees.

The 16-day federal government shutdown was the most costly on record, CNN said.

As for D.C. itself, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the shutdown won’t prevent the city from operating.

“D.C. government will continue to provide services to our residents, the services they expect and deserve, uninterrupted,” Bowser said.

While the U.S. Postal Service will continue to deliver mail, other government agencies and functions will be closed and cease operating.

Sixty votes were needed to advance a bill to keep the government open for four weeks. Republicans only control 51 seats, so GOP leaders needed Democratic votes to cross that threshold.

On Friday, the bill failed 50-49.

It also failed after a last-minute meeting between Trump and Senate Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York went off the rails.

Predictably, each came away blaming the other for the shutdown.

“It’s almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown,” Schumer said of Trump as the senator torched the president in comments made on the Senate floor. “And now we will have one. And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump’s shoulders. This will be called the Trump shutdown. This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in [more] than President Trump.

“Every American knows the Republican Party controls the White House, the Senate, the House,” Schumer said. “It’s their job to keep the government open.”

As has been his modus operandi, Trump took to Twitter early Saturday to place blame: “Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!”

A major sticking point appeared to have been Republicans’ failure to approve legislation to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump ended in September.

Those immigrants could face deportation after March 5.

Also, Democrats and others have pointed out that Trump wanted funding to build a border wall, something he promised during his campaign that Mexico would pay for.

Still, a subsequent tweet by Trump read, “This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown.”

Because of the shutdown, federal agencies have been encouraged to use “carryover balances” at their disposal to continue operations as normal for as long as possible, according to ABC News.

If lawmakers can’t find a resolution, some federal employees will begin to receive furlough notices, though administration officials reportedly could not offer an overall number.

The military’s ongoing military operations will not be impacted, though nearly 1.3 million active duty service members would not be paid until after the shutdown ends.

For D.C. residents and tourists, the shutdown means, among other things, the probable closures of the African-American Civil War Memorial, the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site in Northwest and any other national park.

Reportedly, the popular panda cameras at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington will be turned off, but visitors will still be able to visit the National Zoo, as well as Smithsonian museums, over the weekend. But the zoo and the museums would be closed beginning Monday.

Bowser said the city plans to help the federal government maintain the National Mall.

“I’ve called on my agencies, where we are able, to step in for the federal government,” she said during a Friday news conference. “The National Mall is operated by the National Park Service, and there are many other National Service Park properties throughout Washington, D.C. … We will step in and ensure litter and trash are picked up along the National Mall to keep nation’s front yard clean of debris.”

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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