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US government shuts down over immigration impasse

Senate Democrats block White House-backed bill to keep the government running for another four weeks.

The United States government shut down on Saturday, after members of Congress failed to reach an agreement on the divisive issue of immigration and government spending.

In a late-night vote, opposition Democrats in the Senate joined to block a bill that would have kept the government running for another four weeks.

The shutdown comes exactly a year after Donald Trump took his oath as US president.

On social media, Trump lashed out at the opposition for the impasse, saying the Democrats "want a shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the tax cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy".


READ MORE: What happens when the US government shuts down?


In a separate statement the White House Press Secretary called Democrats "obstructionist losers, not legislators".

Just a few hours earlier, the president had praised the Senate's Democrat leader Charles Schumer for an "excellent preliminary meeting" to avert the shutdown.

Democrats had tried to get concessions from Republicans, particularly on the extension of the immigration programme protecting young immigrants from deportation, which is set to expire in March.

Saturday's shutdown is only the fourth government closure in 25 years.

Essential government offices and services including the military, the border patrol, air traffic controllers and the FBI, however, will remain in operation until there's an agreement. 


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