On­go­ing fed­eral shutdown has be­come na­tion’s long­est

Lead­ers re­main at odds over bor­der wall fund­ing

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

WASHINGTON – The par­tial gov­ern­ment shutdown is now the long­est in Amer­i­can his­tory.

The shutdown en­tered its 22nd day on Satur­day, sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous 21-day record set in late 1995 and early 1996 dur­ing the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Nine fed­eral de­part­ments and sev­eral smaller agen­cies – one-fourth of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment – re­main closed as the stand­off bar­rels into its fourth week with no end in sight.

Mem­bers of the House and the Sen­ate both went home to their dis­tricts on Fri­day and won’t re­turn un­til Mon­day, guar­an­tee­ing that parts of the gov­ern­ment will re­main closed at least through early next week.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is threat­en­ing to de­clare a national emer­gency so he can ac­cess fed­eral funds to build a wall along the U.s.-mex­ico bor­der. That would al­low the gov­ern­ment to re­open since the shutdown stems from a bud­get bat­tle be­tween the White House and con­gres­sional Democrats over bor­der wall fund­ing.

But ex­actly when Trump might in­voke an emer­gency isn’t clear.

Trump sug­gested dur­ing a trip to the bor­der in Texas on Thurs­day that an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion could come at any time if ne­go­ti­a­tions with Democrats fail to yield a deal on his de­mand for $5.7 bil­lion in bor­der wall fund­ing.

But Trump played down the prospects of an im­mi­nent emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion on Fri­day, say­ing he wasn’t “go­ing to do it so fast.”

The shutdown’s ef­fects have rip­pled across the coun­try since it started Dec. 22.

On Fri­day, some 800,000 fed­eral work­ers missed their first pay­check since the shutdown be­gan. The em­ploy­ees have been forced to take un­paid leave or work with­out pay, leav­ing many won­der­ing how they will pay their mort­gage or rent, make car pay­ments and make ends meet.

Tourists in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal have been forced to come up with al­ter­na­tive itin­er­ar­ies as a re­sult of the shutdown. I have a thing I say now to young girls, or girls in gen­eral: Love your­self first. Be­cause that was the prob­lem. I was putting his feel­ings be­fore mine. I didn’t care that it both­ered me. I didn’t care that I cried, and I was upset and that I had to share some­one I loved with other women. I wanted him to be happy,” R. Kelly accuser Lisa Van Allen said on “Red Ta­ble Talk.” Pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions like the National Zoo, the Smith­so­nian mu­se­ums and national mon­u­ments are all closed.

Air travel has been ham­pered by the shutdown. Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port is clos­ing one of its ter­mi­nals Satur­day through Mon­day be­cause many Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials are not re­port­ing to work, and air­port of­fi­cials weren’t con­fi­dent they would have enough screen­ers on duty.

The shutdown is even caus­ing re­ver­ber­a­tions in space. Re­pairs to the main cam­era on the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope have been de­layed be­cause of agency clo­sures.

Be­fore the cur­rent stale­mate set a new record, the long­est shutdown lasted 21 days and oc­curred in late 1995 and early 1996. The lapse in gov­ern­ment fund­ing was trig­gered by a bud­get bat­tle be­tween Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and House Speaker Newt Gin­grich. It ended when the two sides agreed to a sev­enyear bud­get plan with some spend­ing cuts and tax in­creases.

In 1978, the gov­ern­ment shut down for 18 days when Demo­cratic Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter found him­self at odds with Congress even though Democrats con­trolled both the House and Sen­ate. Carter ve­toed a de­fense bill that in­cluded fund­ing for a nu­clear-pow­ered air­craft car­rier and pub­lic works leg­is­la­tion that in­cluded fund­ing for wa­ter projects. Fund­ing for the De­part­ment of Health, Ed­u­ca­tion and Wel­fare was de­layed be­cause of a dis­pute in­volv­ing Med­i­caid fund­ing for abor­tion.

That shutdown fi­nally ended when Carter man­aged to get the projects he op­posed stripped from the leg­is­la­tion, and the House and Sen­ate passed a bill that ex­panded the ex­cep­tions to the Med­i­caid abor­tion ban to in­clude rape and in­cest.

A 16-day shutdown in 2013 stemmed from a fight over fund­ing for the Af­ford­able Care Act, also known as Oba­macare. Un­able to re­peal Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health care law, Re­pub­li­cans in Congress ap­proved a tem­po­rary mea­sure that would fund the gov­ern­ment but would cut fund­ing to im­ple­ment Oba­macare. The Sen­ate, con­trolled by Democrats, re­jected the plan.

The stand­off ended when Re­pub­li­cans con­ceded defeat and a deal was worked out to re­open the gov­ern­ment.

The gov­ern­ment shutdown, which be­gan Dec. 22, be­came the na­tion’s long­est as Satur­day be­gan.

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