There you have it, folks: The U.S. government is officially closed for business.
Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a short-term spending plan to fund the government Friday night. The White House called the result the “Schumer Shutdown” and Democrats referred to the “Trump Shutdown.”
That means hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be off the job come Monday unless there’s a quick resolution, and many routine government functions, such as Food and Drug Administration safety inspections, will be put on hold.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Friday.
What it will not do, however, is stop mail delivery or discontinue the operation of Medicare and Medicaid, although new applications for Medicare could be delayed.
Here in Hawaii, where the military presence is large and tens of thousands of civilian workers are dependent on a federal paycheck, the government shutdown will hit hard.
Here’s what Sen. Brian Schatz had to say just after the government ran out of money:
This is why we are shutting down. No one knows what the administration wants and the White House is completely erratic. https://t.co/boSs4ypcpZ
In 2013, the last time the federal government was shuttered due to disagreement on Capitol Hill, many employees were furloughed and their paychecks delayed, which could have serious ramifications for those living on the financial edge. The shutdown also closed the state’s national parks and caused some problems for a federal investigation into a molasses spill at the Honolulu harbor.
This time around, some national parks are expected to stay open, although the services that require staff, such as concessions and campgrounds, will close.
Pearl Harbor’s national monument said on its website that the USS Arizona Memorial program, museums and historical sites will remain open during the shutdown. But you can’t make online ticket reservations for now — tickets are available at the monument starting at 7 a.m.
Haleakala National Park’s website offered this statement regarding the Maui attraction:
The Pools of ‘Ohe’o in our Kīpahulu District are CLOSED indefinitely due to safety concerns with rockslides. We will update the conditions of the pools once it becomes available. Hiking trails in Kīpahulu remain open.
The open areas include Highway 11 through the park and Mauna Loa Road to Kipukapuaulu (Kipukapuaulu Trail, the day use area and tree molds are open). Ka‘u Desert Trail is open to the Footprints exhibit shelter. However, access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services. Backcountry permits will not be issued and overnight camping will not be permitted.
The state’s nine federal wildlife refuges, from Kauai to the Big Island, will be closed.
Here’s how the events leading up to the shutdown unfolded on the Senate floor:
After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan to keep the government operating. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure, rather than take a politically risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.
In an unusual move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the roll call to exceed 90 minutes — instead of the usual 20 or so — and run past midnight, seemingly accommodating the numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers. Still as midnight passed and the calendar turned, there was no obvious off-ramp to the political stalemate.
Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting that Democrats actually wanted the shutdown “to help diminish the success” of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later termed the Democrats “obstructionist losers.”
Democrats balked on the measure in an effort to pressure the White House to cut a deal to protect “dreamer” immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said he lunched with Tump on Friday and came away hopeful of a compromise. He criticized the president for backing away when a solution was possible.
Hawaii’s Schatz issued this statement early Saturday in Washington:
Nobody wins in a shutdown. It’s time for us to do the hard work of negotiating and compromise to keep critical government services going. I will continue to work for as long as it takes to solve this terrible problem.
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono also issued a statement after the shutdown, saying that Republican leaders, from Trump to McConnell to House Speaker Paul Ryan, “turned things upside down.”
Republicans are in charge of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. They are in charge of setting the time table and the agenda, and now they’re blaming the Democrats for their own misplaced priorities.
Congress is a separate branch of government. Instead of bowing to the unpredictable, mercurial, and unreliable positions of the President, we should do our jobs and send the President a government funding bill that addresses all of these priorities.
Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.
There will be no effect on veteran retirement pay.
Federal Aviation Administration employees in “safety critical” positions will continue to work, including air traffic control and most aviation and railroad safety inspectors.
A lengthy shutdown could cause lingering problems for the Internal Revenue Service, which is preparing for the start of the tax filing season while also still ingesting the sweeping changes made by the new GOP tax law.
One federal office that won’t close is that of special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who’s spearheading an investigation into whether there was collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.