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  • The United States capitol during it

    The United States capitol during it's first day of a partial government shutdown. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 December 2018

"President Trump has thrown a temper tantrum and now has us careening toward a 'Trump shutdown' over Christmas," Senator Chuck Schumer said.

The United States government partially shut down early Saturday in a fierce dispute over President Donald Trump's demands that Congress assign US$5 billion to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

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Trump's 'Racist' Wall Approved by House

After failing to come to an agreement Friday, congressional leaders and the White House said talks would continue through the weekend to strike a deal that could end the shutdown ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The deadlock came after Trump refused a short-term funding deal cut by Democratic and Republican senators as it did not include the US$5 billion for his border wall, a key campaign promise during the 2016 electoral campaign, which he insisted would be paid for by Mexico.

Trump tried to blame Democrats for the shutdown, arguing in a video posted on Twitter Friday: "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."

Democrats reminded Trump that he said last week he would be "proud" to shut the government down in order to get wall funding.

In response, #ResignTrump was one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter with 71,200 tweets flooding in from lawmakers, celebrities, and others Saturday morning.

Roughly three-quarters of federal government programs are funded through Sept. 30, 2019. However, funding for programs of the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture expired at midnight.

Federal parks will close and more than 400,000 federal "essential" employees in those agencies will work without pay until the dispute is resolved. Another 380,000 people will be "furloughed," meaning put on temporary leave.

In order for the government shutdown to end, both the House and the Senate will have to approve any deal negotiated between Trump's team and Republican and Democratic leaders.

The shutdown could continue until a new Congress convenes on Jan. 3 and Democrats take control of the House.

The showdown added to tensions in Washington as lawmakers grappled with a characteristically abrupt move from Trump to pull troops from Syria, which prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign.


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