Fed­eral shut­down sets record as long­est in U.S. his­tory

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NATION - By Jonathan Lemire, Lisa Mas­caro, Jill Colvin and Dar­lene Su­perville Jonathan Lemire, Lisa Mas­caro, Jill Colvin and Dar­lene Su­perville are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

WASH­ING­TON — As the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down slipped into the record books Satur­day as the long­est ever, mem­bers of Congress were out of town, no ne­go­ti­a­tions were sched­uled, and Pres­i­dent Trump tweeted into the void.

He did not tip his hand on whether he will move ahead with an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion that could break the im­passe, free up money for his wall with­out con­gres­sional ap­proval and kick off le­gal chal­lenges and a po­lit­i­cal storm over the use of that ex­tra­or­di­nary step. A day ear­lier, he said he was not ready to do it “right now.”

Law­mak­ers are due back in Wash­ing­ton from their states and con­gres­sional dis­tricts in the new week.

Trump fired off a series of tweets push­ing back against the no­tion that he doesn’t have a strategy to end what be­came the long­est gov­ern­ment shut­down in U.S. his­tory when it en­tered its 22nd day Satur­day. “Elec­tions have con­se­quences!” he de­clared, mean­ing the 2016 elec­tion in which “I promised safety and se­cu­rity” and, as part of that, a bor­der wall.

But there was an­other elec­tion, in Novem­ber, and the con­se­quence of that is Demo­cratic con­trol of the House. They refuse to give Trump money for the wall.

Trump says he will sign leg­is­la­tion that has been passed by Congress to pro­vide back pay for some 800,000 fed­eral work­ers who aren’t be­ing paid dur­ing the shut­down. Pay­checks were due Fri­day, but many work­ers re­ceived stubs with ze­roes.

An emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion by Trump could break the stale­mate by let­ting him use ex­ist­ing, un­spent money to build the bor­der wall, with­out need­ing con­gres­sional ap­proval. Democrats op­pose that step but may be un­able to stop it. Many Repub­li­cans are wary, too.

Nev­er­the­less the ad­min­is­tra­tion has ac­cel­er­ated plan­ning for it. Of­fi­cials ex­plored di­vert­ing money from a range of ac­counts, in­clud­ing $13.9 bil­lion given to the Army Corps of En­gi­neers af­ter last year’s deadly hur­ri­canes and floods. That op­tion ap­peared to lose steam af­ter an out­cry.

Other pos­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded tap­ping as­set for­fei­ture funds, such as money seized from drug king­pins, ac­cord­ing to a con­gres­sional Repub­li­can not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly about pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. The White House also was eye­ing mil­i­tary con­struc­tion money, an­other po­lit­i­cally dif­fi­cult choice be­cause it would take away from a back­log of hun­dreds of projects.

Trump has been coun­seled by out­side ad­vis­ers to move to­ward declar­ing a na­tional emer­gency for the “cri­sis” that he says ex­ists at the south­ern bor­der. But some in the White House are try­ing to ap­ply the brakes. Jared Kush­ner was among those op­posed to the dec­la­ra­tion, ar­gu­ing to his father-in-law that pur­su­ing a broader im­mi­gra­tion deal was a bet­ter op­tion.

Bren­dan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Im­ages

A worker cleans a foun­tain on the grounds of the White House on the 22nd day of the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down.

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