Post-holiday, partial government shutdown to gain impact

Minnie Murray
December 28, 2018

Both chambers of Congress convened for less than three minutes late on Thursday (local time), with neither taking any action to end the shutdown before adjourning until next week.

The president has only a few more days to advance any spending agreement with the help of full GOP control in Washington.

When House Democrats assume the majority next Thursday for the new session of Congress, they plan to "swiftly" bring up a bill to reopen the government, Hammill added. A brief statement Thursday from the office of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican, spoke to the dim prospect for a quick solution. Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will have 24 hours' notice before having to return for a vote. Representatives are likely to be waiting until next week as the Senate is not scheduled to be back in session until January 2. The halls of Congress have been almost empty in recent days, save for a skeleton crew of staff and lawmakers.

At the heart of the stalemate is Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump is showing no signs of backing down. The President and his team stayed in Washington over Christmas hoping to negotiate a deal that would stop the risky crisis on the border, protect American communities, and re-open the government.

In a tweet Thursday, he once more accused Democrats of wanting to encourage illegal immigrants, "an Open Southern Border and the large scale crime that comes with such stupidity!"

She said President Trump "will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritise our country's safety and security".

House Republicans had passed their own bill last week that meets the President's request of $5 billion in new funds for the border wall. "Now it's up to the Democrats as to whether we have a shutdown tonight". On Twitter, since the shutdown started, he has tried to blame the Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to kill the legislation on arrival in the Senate, and consequently, a government shutdown has been in effect since funding expired December 21. He asserted without evidence: "Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?"

"While Trump and the GOP leadership are putting on a fearless face, the Democrats plan simply to pass a" continuing resolution" bill to re-open the government once they take control of the House, and pass it along to the Senate, daring Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - long opposed to shutdowns - to refuse.

But Trump insists Democrats are to blame, despite an earlier statement that he would personally take credit for a shutdown if one were to occur.

While its impact has been limited so far, partly due to numerous 800,000 or so federal workers affected being on holidays, that could change soon.

The US Office of Personal Management (OPM) has provided sample letters for Government workers to send to landlords and mortgage companies. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working unpaid, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.

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