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US government partially shuts down over Trump’s wall

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WASHINGTON, 23 Dec 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: The U.S. government partially shut down Saturday after the Democrats and some Republicans refused to concede to President Donald Trump's demand to fund his long-promised border wall. 
Trump had previously said he would be "proud' to shut down the government unless he received the $5 billion he is seeking to fund the construction of a barrier along the U.S.'s southern border. 
"If we don't get what we want…I will shut down the government,” Trump said during a heated meeting with the Democratic leadership.
“I will take the mantle,” he added. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
But that is just what Trump did when push came to shove. 
In his third pre-recorded video message of the week, the president said "it's really up to the Democrats, because we need their votes" for the separation barrier. 
"We're going to have a shutdown. There's nothing we can do about that, because we need the Democrats to give us their votes," he said. "The shutdown hopefully will not last long."
The Senate earlier this week passed a stopgap spending bill that would have funded through February the agencies that have shut down. But it did not include funding for Trump's wall, and as it headed to the House, the president hastily called a meeting with its leaders, who tacked on to the bill the funds Trump is seeking, sending it back to the Senate for consideration, where it was dead on arrival. 
All of the Democrats in the tightly contested chamber oppose funding for the wall, as do some Republicans. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a narrow needle to thread with his caucus holding only 51 seats in the chamber. 
"As we said to President Trump a week ago, his wall does not have 60 votes here in the Senate, let alone 50 votes. That much is now clear," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday evening as the government prepared to partially shut down. 
About 75 percent of the government remains open and funded, including the Department of Defense, following a separate spending measure passed in September. 
But for the other quarter of agencies that will be affected, including the Commerce Department and NASA, many of the hundreds of thousands of employees will be forced to take unpaid leave, also known as a furlough. 
About 420,000 other federal employees will still be required to show up to work but will not receive paychecks until the government officially reopens. 
Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to have Mexico pay for his border wall, but two years in, Mexican officials are as adamant as they have ever been that they will not contribute at all to the proposal, forcing the president to turn to a resistant Congress. 

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