No movement in settling record-long shutdown

14 January, 2019, 06:27 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has been critical of President Donald Trump's response to disasters in Puerto Rico

Congress adjourned for the weekend without any movement toward a negotiated resolution to the partial government shutdown, which is now guaranteed to become the longest in history, surpassing the 21-day closure that started in December 1995.

Concerning the allocation of blame, 53 percent say Trump and the Republicans are mainly at fault, and 29 percent blame the Democrats in Congress.

President Donald Trump says he's at the White House waiting for Democrats to return to Washington and help end the shutdown.

Despite Trump's go-slow message, momentum grew in some corners for some sort of emergency declaration.

But there was another election, in November, and the effect of that is that Democrats now control the House and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall. That is identical to the end of the 16-day shutdown in 2013, when 29 percent blamed then-President Barack Obama and 53 percent put the responsibility on congressional Republicans.

The Democrats have threatened immediate legal action if Mr Trump declares a national emergency.

"It will only take another two weeks to cost the United States economy more than the $5.7 billion that the White House requested", Ann Bovino, S&P's chief USA economist, said in a note on Friday as cited by media.

Opponents say that a unilateral move by the president over the sensitive border issue would be constitutional overreach and set a unsafe precedent in similar controversies.

"I think it is analogous to the governments you see all over the world declaring martial law, justifying whatever they want to do to whomever they want to, whenever they want to", Hoyer said this past Tuesday when asked about the concept. The courts did not allow President Harry Truman to nationalize the US steel industry during the Korean War.


In the Erie area, the bureau of Labor Statistics says 1,600 federal employees are affected.

Before lawmakers left Washington on Friday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., attempted to make a similar point as Trump did Saturday about the 2016 election in a floor exchange with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

"I think its a bad precedent and it contravenes the power of the purse that comes from the elected representatives of the people", Iowa Sen.

But what cuts to the core of the concern on Capitol Hill is the executive branch wading into legislative domain to shift money Congress has already approved to the wall. By Friday, lawmakers said they were being told those projects will not be touched and the White House was now looking for other funds to pay for the border wall.

"No one knows what he will do, and the president has not decided yet, so it keeps everyone guessing", explained one Republican close to the White House.

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.

Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, acknowledged the dilemma, especially as the shutdown continues with no end in sight.

A couple of minutes later, First Lady Melania Trump tweeted out serene photos of the snow-covered lawn. "I have the absolute right", he insisted.

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