Congress has shut down US government. Now what?

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. center accompanied by his Press Secretary Ash Lee Strong right walks to the Capitol Building from the Capitol Visitor's Center Thursday Jan. 18 2018 in Washington

Since the closure began at the start of a weekend, numerous immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.

Congress must act by midnight Friday or the government will begin immediately locking its doors.

But both sides may now be even less willing to make concessions because a political defeat on the issue could be costly, especially with the control of Congress up for grabs at midterm elections later this year.

Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority.

Many thousands of federal workers will not report for work on Monday morning if the impasse is not solved.

Several GOP senators, for example, were trying to find out from Democrats why they are dug in against the House's short-term spending mechanism.

The procedural vote remained open past 11:00p. Four Republicans voted in opposition.

But the Republican-led Senate was holding the vote open as almost an hour ticked by and the midnight hour neared, seemingly accommodating the numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers away from the chamber's floor. Still as midnight passed and the calendar turned, there was no obvious off-ramp to the political stalemate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a key procedural vote Friday night on a plan to avert a government shutdown, but it's still unclear if there are enough votes to keep the government open.

Democratic leaders have blamed the breakdown of a possible deal on Trump's refusal to fund a program that protects 700,000 "Dreamers" - undocumented immigrants who arrived in the USA as children - from deportation.

Schumer presented a proposal to break the logjam to President Donald Trump in a mid-day meeting at the White House, according to multiple Democrats - a plan to fund the government over the next two years, including money for disaster aid, the low-income children's health insurance program, opioid funding, border security and relief for those Dreamers covered by DACA.

Predictably, both parties moved swiftly to blame each other.

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The White House is blaming Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer standing in the way for the Senate to pass the stopgap spending bill which has already been approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday night on largely party lines.

"Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders".

Trump, who had made strict measures on immigration a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, last week rejected a bipartisan proposal, saying he wanted to include any deal for Dreamers in a bigger legislative package that also boosts funding for a border wall and tighter security at the USA border with Mexico.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a "Trump shutdown" was more accurate.

A bitterly divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

"We discussed all of the major outstanding issues, we made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements".

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that as efforts continue to reach an agreement, "we're in a weekend so we have a little more flexibility here".

The bill was passed by the House on Thursday.

The Trump administration was quick to reuse that phrase and hurl it back at the Democrats during a White House press briefing. One person familiar with the events said the two men agreed to seek a grand deal encapsulating both positions - but that by early evening the agreement was dead, after Mr Trump had spoken with conservative Republicans and heard their objections. But that optimism faded as the evening wore on.

Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said Trump told Schumer to work things out with McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. McConnell did not attend the meeting because he was not invited, a Senate GOP aide said.

Trump has been an unreliable negotiator in the weeks leading up to the showdown.

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