US Shutdown Sets Record as Trump Tweets into Void

Supporters of President Donald Trump react to protesters during Trump's Texas visit

NBC News reported on Thursday that Mr Trump had been briefed on such a plan but the White House denied it.

An estimated 800,000 federal workers could go without paychecks this week, because funding for their agencies ran out on December 22.

Miami International Airport announced it will have to shut one of its terminals this weekend due to a shortage of security staff caused by high sick leave.

"This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and vote for money for the wall, the barrier", Trump said on Friday.

Amid the unending shutdown, the President has started increasingly talking about the possibility of declaring a national emergency in an effort to circumvent Congress to obtain the funding he wants for a border wall - a move that would be expected to face legal challenge and forceful pushback from Democratic lawmakers.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently, said that unless Republicans and Democrats strike an unlikely compromise, "I fully expect him to declare a national emergency".

Republicans, Democrats and the president seemed to be preparing for the prospect that the special counsel's inquiry into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation could further upend a government that's in the midst of the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

While Trump on Saturday three times cited a "humanitarian crisis" at the border, he also tied the debate to his 2016 campaign promise: "Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border".

On Saturday it reaches its 22nd day, overtaking the previous record - the 21-day shutdown in 1995-96 under then-President Bill Clinton. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democratic negotiator, insists that Trump reopen the government first.

As we enter the fourth week of what is now the longest shutdown in United States history, its impact is hitting home for more Americans.

At the Border, Trump Moves Closer to Emergency Declaration
Visiting a border patrol station in McAllen, Trump viewed tables piled with weapons and narcotics. It was not clear what a potential compromise between the White House and Congress might entail.

Since that meeting both sides have blamed each other.

But there was another election, in November, and the effect of that is that the Democrats now control the House and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall. "I'm not going to blame you for it". "I think he's got to do it".

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., said in a statement Sunday that given Trump's suggestion late last week that he does not immediately plan to issue an emergency declaration, "it's time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up the House passed appropriations bills that would finally reopen government".

"The easy solution is for me to call a national emergency".

Trump threatened anew that the shutdown could continue indefinitely. "The Republican-controlled Senate and a handful of senators will make that decision".

The White House has suggested building the wall with steel rather than concrete as a key concession.

Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Washington headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and pledged that the administration will keep fighting for the border wall.

Several government agencies are not receiving funding during the shutdown- including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Interior Department, the Agriculture Department, the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and a few smaller agencies- but these agencies are providing "essential" government services despite the lack of funding.

Separately, Senator Rob Portman and eight other Republican senators introduced legislation that would permanently outlaw the closing of government operations during budget fights, underscoring the growing frustration in Washington.

"They're the ones that are holding it up", he said during a telephone interview with Fox News on Saturday night.

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