US President Donald Trump says parts of the government will stay shut as long as Democrats refuse to build the Wall on the US-Mexico border.
Tuesday, asked when the government would reopen, President Trump said: “I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”
“I’ll call it whatever they want but it’s all the same thing,” he said at the White House after offering holiday greetings to U.S. troops stationed around the country and the world.
President Trump argued that drug flows and human trafficking into the US can only be stopped by a wall.
“We can’t do it without a barrier. We can’t do it without a wall,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.
Dems oppose spending any money on a wall or fence, pushing instead for increased use of technology to control access at the border.
President Trump had said he would be “proud” to shut down the government in a fight over the Wall, but now puts the onus on the Democrats for refusing to vote for a House-passed bill that includes the $5.7-B he wants for the Wall.
Monday, President Trump met Monday on border security with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other department officials. Senate negotiators continued talks behind the scenes with Democrats and Republicans. The House and Senate briefly gaveled into session on Christmas Eve before closing with no further action. Congress will be back in session Thursday, meanwhile negotiations continue behind closed doors.
Several Cabinet departments and agencies have been closed since Saturday after their funding lapsed, and officials warn the shutdown could stretch into January, when Democrats are set to take back control the House.
President Trump excused federal employees from work on Monday and Christmas is a federal holiday, meaning the public could begin feeling the shutdown’s effects Wednesday. Some 800,000 federal workers must either work without pay for the time being, or stay home and wait to be paid later.
President Trump said that federal workers furloughed in a partial government shutdown support his effort to force Democrats to vote to spend $5.7-B for a Wall on the Mexican border.
“They understand what’s happening. They want border security,” President Trump told reporters at the White House Tuesday.
9 of 15 federal departments and dozens of other agencies shut down Saturday after President Trump refused to sign a spending bill that did not include money for the border Wall, his Top campaign promise.
There are about 800,000 government employees furloughed by the dispute or they can go to their jobs without pay until the dispute is resolved. Their pay is not at stake here.
“Many of those workers have said to me, communicated, ‘stay out until you get the funding for the wall,”’ President Trump said. “These federal workers want The Wall.”
President Trump canceled his scheduled Christmas/New Year’s holiday and is at work in the Oval Office.
“I cannot tell you when the government’s gonna be open,” he said. “I can tell you it is not gonna be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they (the Dems) would like to call it.”
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