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Government Shutdown Enters 18th Day

Government Shutdown Enters 18th Day

This year will likely be remembered as having begun during one of the longest government shutdowns in US history.

The partial shutdown, which enters its 18th day Tuesday, is the second-longest in history following a 21-day funding gap in 1995 under President Bill Clinton.

It is the third shutdown to occur since Trump took office.

Of comparable length was a 16-day shutdown that occurred in October 2013 under Obama when GOP lawmakers resorted to drastic measures to block parts of the Affordable Care Act.

The current shutdown began on December 22nd when Congress failed to pass a budget. The gap affects about 25% of the government including major departments such as Interior, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Treasury, and State.

Trump says he won’t agree to reopen the government unless Congress provides $5 billion to start building a border wall between the US and Mexico. “The Democrats want Billions of Dollars for Foreign Aid, but they don’t want to spend a small fraction of that number on properly securing our Border. Figure that one out!” he tweeted on Saturday.

Trump’s stance is supported by his new chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who has already made several media appearances to defend Trump’s border wall demands.

On the opposing side are Democratic lawmakers, who are refusing to provide funding for the wall and insisting that any deal to reopen the government not be tied to border wall funding.

“The impression you get from the President [is] that he would like to not only close the government, build a wall, but also abolish Congress so the only voice that mattered was his own,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday.

Pelosi’s comments follow a tense meeting with the president last Friday, after which Trump threatened to declare a national emergency in order to redirect Defense Department money towards the border wall.

Vice President Mike Pence met with Democrats later during the weekend in an effort to make progress on negotiations. 

As outlined in a letter from acting White House Budget Director Russel T. Vought, the Administration offered to include $800 million to “address urgent humanitarian needs” at the border in a bill which includes $5.7 billion “for construction of a steel barrier for the Southwest border.”

The Administration also offered to restore a version of an Obama-era program that allowed children from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to apply for refugee resettlement in the US.

“During our meetings with congressional staff this weekend, we made it clear that we have a crisis on our southern border,” said Pence. “And we outlined the president’s plan to secure our border, build a wall, and protect the American people. It’s time for the Democrats to start negotiating.”

In the meantime, hundreds of federal workers are either out of a job or working without pay. 

While these workers will almost certainly receive back pay, they have no way of knowing when that money will arrive.

“I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats,” tweeted trump on Saturday. “I want to stop the Shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on Strong Border Security! I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?”

Other major problems related to the shutdown include National Parks, which are growing dangerous without maintenance, and the IRS, which is not prepared to process tax refunds.

Last Friday, the HUD sent letters to 1,500 landlords urging them not to evict tenants who rely on federal assistance to pay rent.

If the shutdown continues into February, up to 38 million Americans could lose access to food assistance.

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6 Comments

  1. Bruce Walters

    How many times did Obama shut down the Government in order to get Obama care passed?

    Reply
  2. Jules Kunofsky

    Alice, you are one of my favorites but I was expecting to get your opinion (which I love reading). Is it the new format or any other reason you didn’t express your opinion?

    Reply
  3. Alice Green

    Jules,

    While I would love to see a Wall built, Trump is endangering his chances of re-election by putting federal workers out of a job (especially after he promised more jobs for the American people).

    On top of that, the Wall is such a big project that it cannot be completed under one president and it is unlikely our next president will pick up where Trump left off.

    In this case I think Trump would be wise to reopen the government and then negotiate with Democrats for enhanced border security, improved conditions at the border, better processing of asylum claims, etc. rather than demand a physical Wall. In a two-party system, everything has to be a compromise.

    Reply
  4. Coleen Gallagher

    I feel that the government shutdown should include All federal employees not to be paid! That includes congress and senators! You shouldn’t pick and choose! Maybe that would intice them to come to an agreement! I have family that works at a very dangerous prison. Since the beginning of this year there has been six of the CO’S, guards, and an an upper Officer hurt by being attacked by inmates. This is tragic! They are working without a paycheck. They deserve their pay. Those liberals you have in the White House are extremely out of line! Take their paycheck and use that money for the wall!
    Sincerely
    Coleen Gallagher
    Make America Great and Safe Again!

    Reply
  5. Knobby

    Re: Alice point of view

    I agree Trump should cave before the IRS cannot print refund checks and EBT cards run dry. Take the 2 Big ones from The Dems and start building. Then start trimming Federal Agencies budgets, to sustain the effort in an orderly fashion. He has already asked for each Dept to plan for a 5% budget cut.

    And how about the 20 Big ones we send to Pakistan every year (fact check me here, just a recall)? If POTUS is the Chief Executive, he can rob Peter to pay Paul as required to keep the Ship of State afloat. Every Chief Executive and/or Head of Household I know (and myself) does this on a regular basis.

    I have seen the Fence/Wall at the Arizona/Mexico border. It would take a well-equipped task force to get anything across. In some areas, the 24ft high fence just quits, and goes to a 6ft cattle fence. I think this discontinuity is what the POTUS wants to cure.

    My intel from the locals is that NO ONE gets to even approach the US border unless they have paid the Mexican cartels for access. Anyone at the border that is not reporting to the ICE Stations has some financial backing of some kind, or they agreed to carry in some high-value “exported goods”. If some rando goes walking up to the border (along Arizona anyway) with out explicit permission, their projected lifespan drops to zero. Lawlessness abounds.

    Reply
  6. Knobby

    My Bad.
    I just looked up Pakistan: $687 Million. I overstated their gift by 58.2 times! The point still stands. Foreign aid to counties that like to work against our interests is like giving treats to a dog when he bites your leg.

    Reply

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