Published: Tue, December 25, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Government unlikely to get fully back to business for days

Government unlikely to get fully back to business for days

Unlike the other two shutdowns this year, the one that started Saturday includes only part of the federal government - nine of 15 departments, representing about a quarter of the $1.24 trillion in government discretionary spending for fiscal year 2019.

Vice President Mike Pence, Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney left the US Capitol Building late last Friday after hours of bargaining with congressional leaders produced no apparent compromise. Several Cabinet departments and agencies have been closed since Saturday after their funding lapsed.

Mulvaney said the White House made a "counter-offer" to Democrats on funding for border security that fell between the Democratic offer of $1.3 billion and Trump's demand for $5 billion.

Monday and Tuesday, Christmas Eve and Christmas, respectively, are federal holidays, meaning the federal government would already be closed. But he predicted it could last beyond Thursday, when Congress is next scheduled to come into session.

"If that's the case, again, there's a chance we go into the next congress".

The senator had said he would "remind" the vice-president that Democrats would not sign off on funding for a border wall.

Trump has spoken of the wall along the US-Mexico border since he began his presidential campaign and has been insisting that Congress sanction funds for the same.

Mulvaney said on Fox News that the drawing in Trump's tweet is what the administration wants. "This is politics, not policy".

Across the country, the shutdown played out in uneven ways. In New York City the Statue of Liberty was still open, thanks to state money.

More than 400,000 federal employees are reporting to their jobs on Monday but won't get their salaries, while almost 400,000 others "will be locked out of work with no pay", the American Federation of Government Employees union said. After previous shutdowns, Congress also has passed legislation to retroactively pay furloughed workers.

"It's Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos", the two said in a joint statement. But they didn't rule out action if a deal were struck. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who was the only member of the GOP leadership to attend.

"I am all alone (poor me) in the White House", tweeted Trump, who had to delay his annual Christmas holiday in Florida because of the crisis in Washington.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 31% believe that job should go to Pelosi who is expected to be the speaker of the incoming Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

Trump had savored the prospect of a shutdown over the wall.

The total cost at that point, including personnel, was approximately $2.3 billion, the government watchdog said.

Less than one week after a GoFundMe page was set up to help pay for the border wall, another account was set up for those with opposite views.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), meanwhile, had a more pithy response to Trump's grievances on Twitter.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The next possibility for votes in the House and Senate is on December 27, as Democrats say they're far apart in negotiations with the Trump administration. While the president does not have the support of many Republican lawmakers, the Democrats too have refused to relent on the matter.

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

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.

The Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services are among those that Congress has fully funded and will operate as usual. Transportation security administration officers will continue to staff airport checkpoints.

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