800,000 unpaid in longest-ever US shutdown
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