US shutdown could stretch into January, Trump aide warns

by Garry Watts December 25, 2018, 1:07
US shutdown could stretch into January, Trump aide warns

Due to the shutdown - which saw several key USA agencies cease operations at 12:01 am (0501 GMT) Saturday - Trump will remain in Washington over Christmas instead of going to Florida, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is met by reporters as he arrives at the Capitol on the first morning of a partial government shutdown, as Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, are at odds with President Donald Trump on spending.

The shutdown meant that more than 400,000 federal employees reported to their jobs on Monday without getting paid, while almost 400,000 others "will be locked out of work with no pay", the American Federation of Government Employees union said. But they didn't rule out action if a deal were struck.

"When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all parties - which means 60 votes in the Senate, a majority in the House, and a presidential signature - at that point, we will take it up here on the Senate floor", Schumer said.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney today said the partial government shutdown gridlocking Washington could extend into the new year and the next Congress. Yet he also tried to reassure the country by insisting that "I want everybody to understand no one is working without getting paid". The Statue of Liberty was still open for tours, thanks to money from NY state, and the U.S. Post Office was still delivering mail.

Shelby ate lunch at the White House on Saturday, with rightwingers including House Freedom Caucus chiefs Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

"Instead of bringing certainty into people's lives, he's continuing the #TrumpShutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts", Schumer tweeted, referring to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, among others, who ripped him for being unable to get funding for his long-promised border wall.

Democrats officially take over the House on January 3 for the 116th Congress, and some Republicans see this as their last real shot at getting funding approved for the wall.

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"No private business or company would be permitted to impose on or disrupt the lives of their employees in such a manner", the Federation said in letters to the Senate and House of Representatives. The Secure Fence Act provided the George W. Bush administration with $1.4 billion for 652 miles of double-layer border fencing.

The president's $5 billion demand is just a down payment on Mr. Trump's borderwide vision.

Trump canceled his holiday vacation to Florida due to the budget wrangling, and his wife Melania, who had already traveled to their Mar-a-Lago resort, was returning to Washington to spend the holidays with her husband.

Democrats said they were open to proposals that didn't include the wall, which Schumer said was too costly and ineffective.

About 16,000 National Park Service employees - 80% of the agency's workforce - would also be placed on temporary leave of absence, and many parks would close. About 420,000 were deemed essential workers and will work unpaid in the lead-up to Christmas.

Those being furloughed included almost everyone at NASA and 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service.

In fact, virtually every essential U.S. government agency, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the border patrol and the coast guard, will remain open. Transportation Security Administration officers will continue to staff airport checkpoints and air traffic controllers will be on the job.

Mulvaney appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week".

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