800,000 un­paid in long­est-ever US shut­down

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - From Caro­line Gra­ham

HE OF­TEN boasts about set­ting records, but US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has passed an un­wanted mile­stone – the long­est gov­ern­ment shut­down in his­tory.

About 800,000 fed­eral work­ers are un­paid, in­clud­ing Mr Trump’s own Se­cret Ser­vice body­guards.

The shut­down – which to­day en­tered its 23rd day – was trig­gered af­ter the pres­i­dent’s de­mand for $5.7bn (€4.9bn) to build a wall along the bor­der with Mex­ico was re­jected by Democrats. As re­ports of hard­ship among gov­ern­ment work­ers grew, Nancy Pelosi, Demo­crat leader of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, yes­ter­day said the onus was on Mr Trump. ‘When the pres­i­dent acts, we will re­spond to what­ever he does,’ she said.

DeCarann Speaks, a mother-oftwo and the wife of a bor­der pa­trol agent who is await­ing back pay, said: ‘If the shut­down keeps go­ing, my hus­band said he’ll call his par­ents and see if they’ll lend us some money. Some days I just want to sit and cry, but I have to stay pos­i­tive for my chil­dren.’

Mr Trump or­dered the shut­down on De­cem­ber 22 af­ter his de­mand for funds to build his wall was re­jected by Democrats, who said it was ‘costly and im­moral’.

The clo­sure has hit the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, the In­te­rior De­part­ment and the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, as well as forc­ing the clo­sure of na­tional parks and mu­se­ums while a food bank in Wash­ing­ton has ar­ranged pop-up mar­kets for un­paid staff.

BoR­deR ClaSh: Don­ald Trump

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