US GOVT SHUT­DOWN ‘Out for long time’: Trump Tweets as US Shut­down Sets New Record

As par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down slips into record books, no talks are sched­uled while Trump warns of a longer im­passe.

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Apar­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down in the United States over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­mand for $5.7 bil­lion (FJ$12.10 bil­lion) to build a wall along the US–Mex­ico bor­der has en­tered a record 22nd day. Mr Trump, holed up in the White House with Con­gress ad­journed for the week­end, warned of a much length­ier im­passe and blamed the Democrats as Sat­ur­day marked the long­est shut­ter­ing of fed­eral agen­cies in US his­tory.

“We will be out for a long time un­less the Democrats come back from their ‘va­ca­tions’ and get back to work,” he tweeted. Democrats say Mr Trump shut the gov­ern­ment in a “tem­per tantrum” by re­fus­ing to sign a bi­par­ti­san fund­ing leg­is­la­tion last year that did not in­clude money for his wall. 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. Fed­eral work­ers af­fected missed their first pay­cheques on Fri­day, height­en­ing con­cerns about mount­ing fi­nan­cial pres­sures on em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing air traf­fic con­trollers and air­port se­cu­rity of­fi­cials who con­tinue to work without pay.

Con­cerns over pay, de­pres­sion Roughly 800,000 fed­eral work­ers did not re­ceive pay­cheques that would have gone out on Fri­day.

Some have re­sorted to sell­ing their pos­ses­sions or post­ing ap­peals on on­line fundrais­ing sites to help pay their bills.

Mi­ami in­ter­na­tional air­port in Florida said it will close one of its ter­mi­nals over the next sev­eral days due to a pos­si­ble short­age of se­cu­rity screen­ers, who have been call­ing in sick at twice the nor­mal rate.

A union that rep­re­sents thou­sands of air traf­fic con­trollers sued the fed­eral avi­a­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion on Fri­day, say­ing it had vi­o­lated fed­eral wage law by fail­ing to pay work­ers. It is at least the third law­suit filed by unions on be­half of un­paid work­ers.

The head of the US Se­cret Ser­vice, which is re­spon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing Mr Trump, has warned em­ploy­ees that fi­nan­cial stress can lead to de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

“Keep an eye out for warn­ing signs of trou­ble,” Direc­tor R D “Tex” Alles wrote in a memo seen by the Reuters news agency.

The trans­porta­tion se­cu­rity ad­min­is­tra­tion, re­spon­si­ble for air­port se­cu­rity screen­ing, said its rate of un­sched­uled ab­sences rose to 5.6 per cent on Sat­ur­day from 3.3 per cent a year ago but that se­cu­rity stan­dards have not been com­pro­mised.

To sup­port work­force, au­thor­i­ties said they were pro­cess­ing pay for em­ploy­ees who worked on the first day of the shut­down and an­nounced $500 bonuses for uni­formed screen­ing of­fi­cers. Mr Trump is con­sid­er­ing a pos­si­ble na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion that would end the shut­down and al­low him to ob­tain his wall fund­ing by cir­cum­vent­ing Con­gress. But on Fri­day, he said he would not take such a step “right now”. Mr Trump also urged his 57.2 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers to con­tact Demo­cratic law­mak­ers and “Tell them to get it done!” Democrats, who say the wall is an in­ef­fec­tive, out­dated an­swer to a com­plex prob­lem, have passed sev­eral bills in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to re­open the gov­ern­ment without fund­ing for Trump’s bar­rier.

We will be out for a long time un­less the Democrats come back from their ‘va­ca­tions’ and get back to work.

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