This weekend officially marked the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, now entering its 23rd day with still no deal in sight. President Donald Trump has been working to rally Republican lawmakers behind his project along the U.S. southern border with Mexico, doubling-down, telling Democratic leaders that he is willing to keep the government shut down for “years” over funding for the wall.
Saturday marked the 22nd day of the government shutdown officially beating out President Bill Clinton, who previously held the record of 21 days back in 1995. Though this time the shut down is only partial, there are still more than 420,000 federal employees working without pay, and another 380,000 furloughed from a wide range of departments and agencies. Some of those include members of the FBI, DEA, State Department, ATF, IRS, NASA, the Department of Transportation, National Parks Service, Coast Guard and more.
Deals have been proposed, one backed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the president’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, which would have traded wall funding for relief for Dreamers and possibly other migrants whose refugee status has recently come under threat by the administration. However, the idea was rejected by Trump. The deal was also viewed cautiously by Democrats who are under pressure by progressives to remain tough on the wall.
Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled House has been busy passing appropriations bills in order to reopen portions of the federal government, though the Republican-controlled Senate has been refusing to take them up.
Trump has also been exploring the possibility of declaring a national emergency, which would immediately free-up funds for the project. There still remains the question of where those funds would be diverted from as well as the dangerous precedent it sets, allowing a president to bypass the approval of Congress in order to move forward with major fiscal decisions.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) stated, “Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use.”