Dec 22, 2018 07:12 Asia/Tehran

The US government was headed toward a partial shutdown at midnight on Friday after President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans in the Senate failed to muster the votes needed to approve $5 billion he has demanded for a border wall fiercely opposed by Democrats.

Iran Press / America: Donald Trump said the impending shutdown of key parts of the federal government could last "a very long time". Democrats put the blame squarely on Trump for refusing to back down.

The impending shutdown is the latest evidence of dysfunction in Washington, DC and might not bode well for next year, when Democrats will have a stronger hand as they take control of the House of Representatives, Reuters reported.

Hours before the deadline, politicians met Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials in a last-ditch effort to find a compromise government funding bill acceptable to both political parties and Trump. But such efforts did not pay off in the end. 

Trump's refusal to cave on Friday came despite indications from the White House earlier in the week that the administration had found an alternative way to get the money needed for the wall.

In a series of early morning tweets on Friday, Trump lashed out at Senate Democrats, and encouraged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, to attempt to change Senate rules, often called the 'nuclear option', to get the funding through. Trump has previously said he would be "proud" to shut down the government "for border security."

Negotiators had been discussing $1.6 billion for a range of border security measures - not specifically for a wall - and retaining financial assistance for areas hit by natural disasters that was added by the House, according to a Republican Senate aide.

That $1.6 billion would have only be $300 million more than the amount the Senate approved in a temporary funding bill it passed late on Wednesday.

The negotiations ended on Friday, however, without a deal. 

Senators are expected to return for talks on Saturday. 

The showdown added to tensions in Washington as lawmakers also grappled with Trump's sudden move to pull troops from Syria, which prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign and furthered concerns over the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that Trump won.   101/ 211 /202


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