Government shutdown breaks record, with no end in sight




  • In US
  • 2019-01-13 03:11:01Z
  • By By David Brunnstrom and David Morgan

By David Brunnstrom and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A partial U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border entered its 22nd day on Saturday, making it the longest shuttering of federal agencies in U.S. history, with no end in sight.

Trump, holed up in the White House with Congress adjourned for the weekend, warned of a much lengthier impasse and blamed the Democrats.

"They're the ones that are holding it up," he said during a telephone interview with Fox News on Saturday night. "It would take me 15 minutes to get a deal done, and everybody can go back to work."

Democrats say Trump shut the government in a "temper tantrum" by refusing to sign bipartisan funding legislation last year that did not include money for his wall.

The closure, which began on Dec. 22, broke a decades-old record by a 1995-1996 shutdown under former President Bill Clinton that lasted 21 days.

(Graphic on government shutdowns - https://tmsnrt.rs/2ASK2RN)

Federal workers affected missed their first paychecks on Friday, heightening concerns about mounting financial pressures on employees, including air traffic controllers and airport security officials who continue to work without pay.

Roughly 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks that would have gone out on Friday. Some have resorted to selling their possessions or posting appeals on online fundraising sites to help pay their bills.

Miami International Airport said it will close one of its terminals early over the next several days due to a possible shortage of security screeners, who have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate.

A union that represents thousands of air traffic controllers sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday, saying it had violated federal wage law by failing to pay workers. It is at least the third lawsuit filed by unions on behalf of unpaid workers.

The head of the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, has warned employees that financial stress can lead to depression and anxiety. "Keep an eye out for warning signs of trouble," Director R.D. "Tex" Alles wrote in a memo seen by Reuters.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), responsible for airport security screening, said its rate of unscheduled absences rose to 5.6 percent on Saturday from 3.3 percent a year ago but that security standards have not been compromised.

The FAA, which oversees air traffic controllers, said on Saturday it had seen no unusual rates of sick leave among its controllers and no disruptions to air traffic control operations.

To support its workforce, the TSA said it was processing pay for employees who worked on the first day of the shutdown and announced $500 bonuses for uniformed screening officers.

Trump is considering a possible national emergency declaration that would end the shutdown and allow him to obtain his wall funding by circumventing Congress. But on Saturday, he told Fox News' Jeanine Pirro that he would rather Democrats take action, adding that he was waiting at the White House ready to cut a deal.

"I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly," Trump said, calling the situation at the nation's southern border a "humanitarian crisis."

"They think it's politics. I think it's bad politics. This country wants to have protection at the border," Trump said.

Democrats, who call a wall an ineffective, outdated answer to a complex problem, have passed several bills in the House of Representatives to reopen the government without funding for Trump's barrier. But the legislation has been ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Trump originally promised Mexico would pay for the wall, which he says is needed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. But Mexico has refused.

U.S. government departments including the Treasury, Energy, Commerce and State departments, shut down when funding lapsed on Dec. 22. Funding for other portions of the government, including Congress and the Department of Defense, was approved, allowing them to continue regular operations.

Trump has repeatedly described the situation at the Mexico border as a "humanitarian crisis" as speculation has increased this week that he would circumvent Congress to begin building his signature wall - a move that would be sure to draw a court challenge from Democrats who say the barrier would be barbaric and ineffective.

Instead, the president urged lawmakers to provide him the $5.7 billion he is seeking for border security.

A national emergency would allow Trump to divert money from other projects to pay for the wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 campaign. That, in turn, could prompt him to sign bills that restore funding to agencies that have been affected by the shutdown.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, David Morgan and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Jonathan Oatis)

COMMENTS

More Related News

House Democrats to investigate White House security clearances
House Democrats to investigate White House security clearances

U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the probe was "in response to grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump administration." Cummings said the panel would seek information in the cases of current and former officials including Trump's son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner, national security adviser John Bolton, as well as former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former staff secretary Rob Porter.

Week 5: Shutdown votes set up political test for Senate
Week 5: Shutdown votes set up political test for Senate

Senate leaders agreed to hold votes this week on dueling proposals to reopen shuttered federal agencies, forcing a political reckoning for senators grappling with the longest shutdown in U.S. history: Side with President Donald Trump or vote to temporarily end the shutdown and keep negotiating. Senate

The Latest: White House reaches out to Kentucky students
The Latest: White House reaches out to Kentucky students

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The Latest on reaction from an encounter between white teenagers, Native American marchers and a black religious sect outside the Lincoln Memorial last week. (all times local):

Defying Pelosi, Trump proceeds with State of the Union plans
Defying Pelosi, Trump proceeds with State of the Union plans

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is moving forward with plans for President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union speech next week in front of a joint session of Congress - despite a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting he delay it.

Trump seeks to move ahead with big speech despite Pelosi shutdown concerns
Trump seeks to move ahead with big speech despite Pelosi shutdown concerns
  • US
  • 2019-01-22 18:12:38Z

Trump's proposal on Saturday to relax his immigration policies for young immigrants known as "Dreamers" in exchange for funding for a southern border wall did not appear to be making much headway among Democrats who control the House of Representatives. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on Trump's plan this week but there were doubts it would pass there. Leaders of the House of Representatives have already rejected it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.