Ongoing federal shutdown has become nation’s longest
Leaders remain at odds over border wall funding
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.