800,000 left unpaid inThe Trump’s longest-ever government 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 $5.7billion (£4.4billion) 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- of-two and the wife of a Border Patrol agent in Vermont 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 long-promised wall was rejected by Democrats, who described it as ‘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.
More than 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those who protect Mr Trump and his family, have not received their wages and 42,000 Coast Guards are working without pay.
Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 election to Mr Trump and whose husband Bill was President in 1996 when the previous 21-day shutdown record was set, said: ‘Americans can’t afford another day. People are missing pay cheques, losing business and working without pay.’
A food bank in Washington DC yesterday arranged pop-up markets for unpaid federal workers and asked volunteers to pack bags of food. Classified advertising website Craigslist said it had been inundated with listings from government employees trying to sell possessions.
Meanwhile, the White House yesterday described a New York Times report that the FBI opened an inquiry into whether Mr Trump was secretly working for Russia as ‘absurd’.
The newspaper said law enforcement officials became worried by Mr Trump’s behaviour in May 2017, when he sacked FBI director James Comey. A subsequent investigation examined whether the President was a national security threat.
BORDER CLASH: President Trump