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United States government shutdown could stretch to Thursday

United States government shutdown could stretch to Thursday

Rather than work around the clock, as in past shutdowns, the leaders of the House and the Senate effectively closed shop.

Over the weekend, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky said the chamber wouldn't reconvene until December 27, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that it's possible the shutdown could go on until after the New Year.

The President, determined to get $5 billion for his proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico, has flip-flopped between taking credit for the shutdown and blaming Democrats.

But he says it's between Trump's $5.7 billion request and the $1.3 billion Democrats offered.

"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.

This is a partial shutdown, because Congress approved 70 percent of spending for the coming fiscal year in those first five appropriations bills.

The budget standoff could drag on into January, when the new Congress is seated, although negotiations were planned for Thursday, offering a glimmer of hope. "I think it's very possible the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress".

In the past, Democrats have been flexible on additional border security funding, including money for a wall, as part of a larger deal on thorny immigration issues.

Trump blamed Democrats for the stalemate, tweeting Monday that "Virtually every Democrat we are dealing with today strongly supported a Border Wall or Fence". "This is politics, not policy".

Brian Kolfage, Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee veteran, began the campaign earlier this week and says the money will go directly to help build the border wall.

Across the country, the shutdown played out in uneven ways.

Some national parks have shuttered completely, but New York's governor provided funding to the Statue of Liberty monument and Ellis Island so those attractions could remain open.

Most critical United States security functions remain operational, but 800,000 federal workers are affected, with many furloughed before Christmas.




Those deemed "essential" are spared but employees of the rest (around 40%) are placed on unpaid leave and told not to work. The Senate had already passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay, and the House was likely to follow suit.

Even by his standards, President Donald Trump sent an unusual number of tweets out on Christmas Eve in the US. But they didn't rule out action if a deal were struck.

"Listen, anything can happen", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after he closed the Senate's rare Saturday session hours after it opened.

Later in the day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that US President Donald Trump would meet with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other DHS officials to discuss border security.

In 2013, the Tea Party Republicans forced the shutdown over the better judgment of GOP leaders like Speaker John Boehner.

Trump has savoured the prospect of a shutdown over the wall for months.

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

Graham reminded Trump that while shoring up the border wall is important, "a Southern wall isn't going to protect you against ISIS".

Most Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have rallied around Trump's demand.

Unlike shutdowns of the past, Congress and the White House aren't racing to reopen the government.

The president canceled his Christmas vacation to his Florida resort because of the impasse with Congress.

"If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall", Schumer said.

"We The People Will Fund The Wall" set a goal of $1 billion and raised more than $16 million in just a few days.

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