White House: Partial government shutdown could last into 2019

World Today

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could stretch into the New Year — That’s the warning from a top White House official. Some 800,000 federal workers are caught in the middle of a budget battle. Most haven’t felt it yet, but as CGTN’s Toby Muse reports, that could change if the closure continues.

“I think that it’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” said White House Budget Director and Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.

The U.S. government was partially shut down on Saturday after the White House and the Congress couldn’t agree on a spending bill moving forward. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to fund a wall on the southern border to stem illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Democrats oppose the wall, calling it a waste.

“In order to get us out of this mess, a negotiated solution will need to check these boxes: it’s really simple, Mr. President, really simple,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “It will need the support of 60 senators which obviously include a number of democrats.”

The shutdown affects 800,000 federal employees. More than half of them, approximately 420,000 workers, are deemed essential and will have to work without pay although they will likely get paid eventually. The remaining employees will be furloughed and could miss a paycheck depending on how long the shutdown lasts.

Essential government agencies like air traffic control and border security will remain open. The effects of the shutdown could be felt when people return to work after the holidays. At least one Republican has criticized the president’s stance on funding saying “it’s a made up fight.”

Funding for the wall could become more difficult when the Democrat-controlled Congress takes office in January. Both sides are blaming each other, although earlier this month President Trump had said he would proudly take credit for the shutdown.

Trump and the Democrats are under tremendous pressure from their supporters not to back down in this fight, even as the two sides continued to negotiate Sunday. And America wonders who will blink first.