Friday, 18 January, 2019

Government shutdown becomes longest in United States history

The US government has been in shutdown for a record-equalling 21 days The US government has been in shutdown for a record-equalling 21 days
Deanna Wagner | 13 January, 2019, 09:10

Trump, holed up in the White House with Congress adjourned for the weekend, warned of a much lengthier impasse and blamed the Democrats. Some 800,000 federal workers are affected with about half required to work without pay and the other half furloughed.

The BBC's correspondent in Washington said that, with no further talks with the Democrats planned, this now seemed the most likely option for the president.

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

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill objected to the administration eyeing shifting unspent disaster funding Congress approved past year for Army Corps of Engineer projects to help hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas and other areas to pay for the wall.

As the partial government shutdown slipped into the record books Saturday, members of Congress had left town, no negotiations were scheduled and President Donald Trump tweeted into the void. By Friday, lawmakers said they were being told those projects will not be touched and the White House was now looking for other funds to pay for the border wall. Some have resorted to selling their possessions or posting appeals on online fundraising sites to help pay their bills. "Keep an eye out for warning signs of trouble", Director R.D.

Mr Trump said yesterday the "easy solution" would be to call a national emergency before adding he wanted Congress to resolve the issue.

Rising numbers of Transportation Security Administration employees at airports have begun calling in sick.

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Yesterday, a union representing thousands of air traffic controllers sued the Federal Aviation Administration, saying it had violated federal wage law by failing to pay staff. "I have the absolute right", he insisted. Some posted photos of their empty earnings statements on social media as a rallying cry to end the shutdown, a jarring image that many in the White House feared could turn more voters against the president as he holds out for billions in new wall funding.

Trump also urged his 57.2 million Twitter followers to contact Democratic lawmakers and "Tell them to get it done!"

"This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and to vote for money for the wall, the barrier, whatever you wanna call it, it's OK with me", Trump said during a White House roundtable on immigration. But the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to consider the measures unless Trump agrees to sign them. While more unaccompanied children and families have recently come to the border, the total number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico is historically low.

The lapse in funding has hit roughly a quarter of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the government's largest agencies, are the most notable exceptions and continue to operate since they were funded through September 30.

First, Trump said no to scaling back the $5.7 billion he wants for construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, kneecapping Pence's early effort to test Democrats' appetite for a smaller number.

Donald Trump says he won't declare a national emergency right now, to end the standoff over border security that has shut down parts of the United States Government.

Fight for the Future pointed to border surveillance programs that already exist and "desperately need Congressional review" instead of being expanded, includingsearches of electronic devicesandmonitoring by drones. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended.