News, Culture & Society

Government shutdown takes full effect a as standoff continues between the president and Congress 

The government shutdown caused by gridlock between the legislative branch and President Trump started to wear on the nation’s capital city on Wednesday as waste bins overflowed and trash piled up on the National Mall and other federally-operated areas of Washington. 

A partial shutdown of the federal government has been occurring since late Friday evening, however, the timing of the lapse in funds, and contributions to the clean-up effort by the D.C. Public Works Department, masked much of the shutdown’s effects until today.

Essential workers like the Transportation Security Service, TSA, and air traffic controllers stayed on the job and will be paid for their work at a later date. 

Other federal employees stayed at home as they would on any other weekend or national holiday.

As Washington’s gears would normally begin to turn again after Christmas, though, furloughed workers who are categorized as non-essential were ordered to stay home until further notice. 

It has been five days since a spending lapse forced the partial government closure. 

 

The government shutdown caused by gridlock between the legislative branch and President Trump started to wear on the nation’s capital city on Wednesday as waste bins overflowed and trash piled up on the National Mall and other federally-operated areas of Washington

Jimmy Taylor of the Department of Public Works collects trash at the National Mall in Washington on Wednesday, lending a hand to the National Park Service while its workers are furloughed

Jimmy Taylor of the Department of Public Works collects trash at the National Mall in Washington on Wednesday, lending a hand to the National Park Service while its workers are furloughed

According to the National Park Service, several partner organizations will assist with trash collection but this may not occur in all areas or at the same frequency as when the government is open

According to the National Park Service, several partner organizations will assist with trash collection but this may not occur in all areas or at the same frequency as when the government is open

A partial shutdown of the federal government has been occurring since late Friday evening, however, the timing of the lapse in funds, and contributions to the clean-up effort by the D.C. Public Works Department, masked much of the shutdown's effects until today

A partial shutdown of the federal government has been occurring since late Friday evening, however, the timing of the lapse in funds, and contributions to the clean-up effort by the D.C. Public Works Department, masked much of the shutdown’s effects until today

Trash on the National Mall on the fifth day of a partial federal shutdown in Washington, D.C.

Trash on the National Mall on the fifth day of a partial federal shutdown in Washington, D.C.

Some 380,000 employees of the State Department, Transportation Department, Department of Homeland Security and others will be kept off the job on an unpaid leave of absence that Congress is likely to offset but could take weeks to happen.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are in a deadlock with President Trump over border security. He remained at the White House on Christmas, while they postponed votes until Thursday, Dec. 27 to be with their families over the holidays.

So far, neither side has indicated that new progress had been made since the White House’s latest offer. It wants more than $1.6 billion for the steel-slat fence the president says he will erect if they agree to appropriate funds to his border wall. 

President Trump could not say on Christmas Day how long the federal government would be closed.

But he vowed one again on Tuesday in Oval Office comments, to keep it closed, however, so long as Democrats refuse to appropriate the money he needs for his border wall. 

‘I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open,’ he told reporters. ‘I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier.’ 

Some 380,000 employees of the State Department, Transportation Department, Department of Homeland Security and others will be kept off the job on an unpaid leave of absence

Some 380,000 employees of the State Department, Transportation Department, Department of Homeland Security and others will be kept off the job on an unpaid leave of absence

The Capitol building is visible as a man who declined to give his name picks up garbage and stacks it near a trash can on Christmas Day

The Capitol building is visible as a man who declined to give his name picks up garbage and stacks it near a trash can on Christmas Day

As Washington's gears would normally begin to turn again after Christmas, though, furloughed workers who are categorized as non-essential were ordered to stay home until further notice

As Washington’s gears would normally begin to turn again after Christmas, though, furloughed workers who are categorized as non-essential were ordered to stay home until further notice

The president was supposed to be in Florida this week with his daughters and sons. He was in Washington, D.C. instead, where he hadn’t been seen on or heard from on Wednesday, after making calls to the troops and talking to reporters early on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Eve, the president went to a church service with his wife Melania and took calls on behalf of NORAD from children tracking Santa Claus.

He seemed restless on Monday, when he sent tweet after tweet on Christmas Eve, and told journalists on Tuesday morning that he wished he could be in Palm Beach with his family.

‘I’ve been at the White House, and I love the White House, but I wasn’t able to be with my family. My family’s in Florida. Palm Beach. I just didn’t want to go down and be there while other people are hurting. But it’s going to all work out,’ the president said on Christmas of the ongoing shutdown.

Trump concluded the conversation on a more somber note, declaring at the end of his rant, ‘It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country, but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.’

It wasn’t until eight hours later that he sent out a revised message wishing everyone, including his enemies, a merry Christmas.

‘I hope everyone, even the Fake News Media, is having a great Christmas! Our Country is doing very well. We are securing our Borders, making great new Trade Deals, and bringing our Troops Back Home. We are finally putting America First. MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ he said. 

Neither the president nor his wife have been seen since Tuesday morning, and it was unclear if the first lady, who made a special trip back to Washington, was still in D.C.

Most of the first family, including the president and first lady’s son, was believed to be at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday. 

Donald Trump Jr. posted holiday photos of himself and his children alongside his estranged wife Vanessa from the private property that’s managed by the Trump Organization. His girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, was also on site. 

Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, senior White House advisers, were spotted in Palm Beach for Christmas, suggesting that talks with legislators to reopen the government had completely stalled. 

The president meanwhile held court in the Oval Office, where he claimed during a question and answer session with reporters that he had signed a contract at a ‘great price’ to build 115 miles of wall in an undisclosed area of Texas. 

He said Tuesday that he’d be visiting the construction site at the end of January. 

He also talked to about ‘a massive amount of wall’ that he said the federal government has ‘renovated’ in addition to the new section he said is being built.

It was not clear where in Texas the president was building his wall, as none of the legislation that has been approved since he took office explicitly gives him permission to build a brand new barrier on as much land as he says the contracts cover. 

He has permission to build and replace fencing in some areas and is asking for unfettered authority and at least $5 billion in taxpayer funds to complete the construction project.  

The president said in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he is aiming to 500 to 550 miles of wall either renovated or completed by Election Day in 2020. 

President Trump could not say on Christmas Day how long the federal government would be closed. He's seen here speaking to reporters in the Oval Office

President Trump could not say on Christmas Day how long the federal government would be closed. He’s seen here speaking to reporters in the Oval Office

It’s a lofty goal for the administration, especially considering that Democrats and the White House have been unable to agree on language pertaining to the president’s ‘border wall’ in a spending bill for the current fiscal year, forcing a partial government closure. 

In the Oval Office the president claimed that he’s getting $25 billion from Congress for border security that has already been approved. Any legislation that contained money for border security like what Trump was describing has not passed Congress, however. 

‘That’s for everything,’ Trump said of the larger pot on Tuesday morning. ‘Plus we have some wall money in there. But, we want the wall money to be increased. Because I want to finish it.’ 

Trump said this week the $25 billion his administration is seeking for border security is not the same as the money he’s seeking for the border wall. The White House last said it was seeking somewhere between $1.6 billion and $5 billion for just the border wall.

Democratic leaders said after the Monday claim that they were utterly confused by what he’s actually requesting, because the White House keeps changing the terms of its request on them.

They begged him to stop causing ‘chaos’ in the markets by sharing his steam-of-consciousness and put him on blast for the holiday shutdown. 

‘Instead of bringing certainty into people’s lives, he’s continuing the Trump Shutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts,’ House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer wrote.

‘Meanwhile, different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment.’

Most of the government had been funded prior to the stand-off with Democrats, but 25 percent of it is currently in limbo.

They want to restrict his ability to build fencing to certain areas of the southern border and provide limited funds for him to do so.

Trump said Tuesday that he’d already begun building the wall, and it would be ‘very high,’ as high as 30 feet in some areas, making it impractical for most illegal immigrants to scale it.

‘Now there may be the case of the Olympic champion who can get over the wall, but for the most part, you’re not able to do it. It’s going to be very high,’ he said.

Some 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the shutdown. They have either been asked to work without pay or take an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of the dispute.

The president said on Christmas that he has heard from some of those workers, and they told him to stand his ground. 

‘They want border security. The people of this country want border security. It’s not a question of me, I’d rather not do shutdowns,’ he asserted. ‘These federal workers want the wall. The only one who doesn’t want the wall are the Democrats, because they don’t mind open borders.’    

Lawmakers went home for the Christmas holiday over the weekend, and the Senate adjourned until Dec. 27.

President Trump remained White House this week, having cancelled his Florida holiday to be in Washington for the duration of the partial shutdown.  

There, he harped that Senate Democrats working against his wall had favored fencing — until he called it a wall and ran for office — and attempted to clarify his border security demands. 

Bored at the White House on Christmas Eve as his wife flew back from Florida to be with him, President Trump otherwise spent the day watching Fox News and tweeting about the government shutdown and his decision to pull troops out of Syria.

The president sent multiple messages that made it clear that he was watching network news from the residence of the White House, where he said that he was ‘all alone’ until his wife Melania returned from Palm Beach.

‘I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,’ he said on Monday afternoon. ‘At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!’

His staffers had left for the day to be with their families, just as lawmakers had mostly departed Washington.  

Nothing was on the public schedule for the president that the White House typically sends out. It has not went out since the beginning of the partial shutdown. 

He filled the time on Monday with tweeting, including an attack on the Federal Reserve, sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 650 points on what was being declared the worst Christmas Eve ever for the market, and by talking to reporters on Tuesday after holiday calls to the military. 

‘It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,’ a joint statement from Pelosi and Schumer on Monday afternoon said. ‘The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense.’ 

The National Christmas Tree that sits beside the White House went dark over the weekend, becoming a symbol of the partial government shutdown that's expected to last until 2019

The National Christmas Tree that sits beside the White House went dark over the weekend, becoming a symbol of the partial government shutdown that’s expected to last until 2019

Trump says he will accept money now that allows him to build a fence rather than a wall 

Trump says he will accept money now that allows him to build a fence rather than a wall 

Their message to the president that he should stop waiting for their call came after he claimed the markets were crashing because the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again. 

Trump has also harped during the shutdown that Senate Democrats working against his wall had favored fencing, until he called it a wall and ran for office, and they should be for one now.

‘Virtually every Democrat we are dealing with today strongly supported a Border Wall or Fence,’ he tweeted. ‘It was only when I made it an important part of my campaign, because people and drugs were pouring into our Country unchecked, that they turned against it. Desperately needed!’

Democrats have offered Trump $1.6 billion in border security money that cannot be used on a concrete border wall and may not may not allow him to build the steel-slated fence that he’s begun pushing.

That bill places restrictions on where the president is allowed to build the barrier,  though, limiting operations to the Rio Grande Valley.

A summary of the legislation explicitly states that funds would be limited to the ‘currently deployed fencing design along the southern border, such as bollard fencing’ and cannot be used for ‘building any barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.’

A White House source told DailyMail.com that Trump wants the restrictions on where the fencing can be built dropped. 

Another offer of $1.3 billion for fencing also contains restrictions on where the wall can be built, making it a no-go as well for the administration.  

Trump is refusing to sign any continuing resolution to fund the government that does not allow him to build a border wall.

He rejected a bill Thursday that did not have the $5 billion for just the border barrier, leading to Friday night’s government shutdown. 

The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Visitors were turned away because of electrical problems due to the partial government shutdown

The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Visitors were turned away because of electrical problems due to the partial government shutdown

Litter spills out of a public dustbin next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve

Litter spills out of a public dustbin next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve

Lawmakers won't even attempt to reopen the government until Thursday, Dec.27 

Lawmakers won’t even attempt to reopen the government until Thursday, Dec.27 

Another trash can is seen overflowing on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday morning

Another trash can is seen overflowing on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday morning

The White House is warning that the shut down could last well into the new year, when Congress changes hands and a new legislative session begins.

‘It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,’ Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday. ‘I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here the next couple of days,’ he added. 

The new Congress will be sworn into office on Jan. 3. Even if House Democrats passes legislation to end it, the onus will fall to the Senate to pass it. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he won’t bring any bill to the floor that the president has not already agreed to sign.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.