US government shuts down as Congress fails to overcome standoff over spending and immigration. Last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. According to a report, the bill needed 60 votes to pass and it was well short of that number with 48 senators voting against it. In shutdowns, nonessential government employees are furloughed, or placed on temporary unpaid leave. Workers deemed essential, including those dealing with public safety and national security, keep working.