Shut­down ex­pected to drag into Christ­mas as talks con­tinue

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Obituaries / News - The As­so­ci­ated Press and CT Mir­ror con­trib­uted to this re­port.

WASHINGTON — The par­tial fed­eral shut­down was ex­pected to drag into Christ­mas as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers re­mained stuck in a stand­off over his bor­der wall with Mex­ico with no break­through Saturday.

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence ar­rived on Capi­tol Hill with a coun­terof­fer to Democrats af­ter the two sides traded of­fers in re­cent days. At the White House, Trump heard mixed mes­sages dur­ing a lunch with con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers; some wanted him to fight for the wall, oth­ers pre­ferred to get the gov­ern­ment re­opened. The Se­nate, which had gaveled in with the House for a rare week­end ses­sion, ad­journed un­til Christ­mas Eve, but won’t re­turn for a full ses­sion un­til Dec. 27.

Even a tem­po­rary mea­sure to keep gov­ern­ment run­ning for a few days while ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued seemed out of reach.

That means roughly 1,500 of the about 8,000 fed­eral work­ers in Con­necti­cut will re­main fur­loughed with­out pay or will be re­quired to work with­out pay.

Since the Pen­tagon’s bud­get was ap­proved ear­lier this year, the largest group of fed­eral work­ers in the state, those who are em­ployed at the Naval Sub­ma­rine Base in New London, won’t be af­fected by the shut­down.

Congress ap­proved the Depart­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs’ bud­get too, so VA hos­pi­tals and clin­ics will con­tinue to op­er­ate as nor­mal.

But hun­dreds of fed­eral work­ers in Con­necti­cut who work in the de­part­ments of Home­land Se­cu­rity, State, Trans­porta­tion, Com­merce, In­te­rior, Agri­cul­ture, Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and Jus­tice will re­ceive no more pay­checks un­til the shut­down ends. Em­ploy­ees of some in­de­pen­dent agen­cies, in­clud­ing NASA, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency are also im­pacted by the shut­down.

The Coast Guard will con­tinue to pa­trol the waters of Long Is­land Sound and ef­fect res­cues, but its mem­bers will work with­out pay. So will the staff at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

Trans­porta­tion Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials at Bradley Air­port and the air traf­fic con­trollers that di­rect flights at Con­necti­cut air­ports will also be on the job dur­ing the busy hol­i­day sea­son — with­out pay.

That also goes for FBI agents in Con­necti­cut and some other Jus­tice Depart­ment em­ploy­ees. All are con­sid­ered “es­sen­tial em­ploy­ees” and must work, whether they get paid or not.

Trump was de­mand­ing $5 bil­lion for a wall, but con­gres­sional Democrats were re­fus­ing to ac­cede in a stale­mate that pro­vided a chaotic coda for Repub­li­cans in the wan­ing days of their two-year reign con­trol­ling gov­ern­ment.

“This is so stupid,” said Sen. Chris Mur­phy, DConn., in a state­ment. “Congress and the White House had a bi­par­ti­san agree­ment to fully fund the gov­ern­ment, but now we’re in a shut­down be­cause the pres­i­dent threw a tantrum about his bor­der wall that no one on the bor­der even wants and he promised Mex­ico would pay for.”

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