The government shutdown is now the longest in US history. But the president isn’t done sulking yetby Diane Roberts / January 23, 2019 / Leave a comment
Federal prison guards are pulling double shifts. When they can get to work, that is. Federal penitentiaries are often in remote rural areas and since the guards aren’t getting paid, some can’t afford to buy petrol.
Transportation Security officers, the ones who poke through your bag before you get on the plane, are calling in sick: ten per cent of them, as of 21stJanuary. They might simply be fed up or they may be looking for other work. In any case, airport queues are longer than ever.
The government shutdown has now gone on for more than a month—it is the longest in US history. 800,000 people are either working for free—because they’re deemed “essential employees—or else they’ve been furloughed. Some of them will get back pay; some, contract workers who tend to be janitors, food service workers, groundskeepers and other low-wage staff, will not.
They are hostages to Donald Trump’s ego. Republicans controlled Congress for two years and refused to authorise the $5bn-plus Trump demands for a “wall” across the US-Mexico border. Yet now that Democrats hold the House of Representatives, Trump’s turned the whole thing into a 2020 campaign stunt, aimed at his most fervently xenophobic supporters. In 2018, he had expressed willingness to sign a Bill that devoted only $1.3bn to a border barrier and protected the “Dreamers,” kids illegally brought to the US by their parents, but anti-immigration advocates such as Ann Coulter raised a ruckus. Trump backed away.
Recently he offered a “compromise:” $5.7bn for the wall, but also a three-year pause in deporting those under Temporary Protected Status, people who fled violence in the Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua, as well as a three-year pause on deporting the “Dreamers.” House speaker Nancy Pelosi pronounced it unacceptable, saying Trump’s offer did not “represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, missing in action for weeks as Trump and the House Democrats argued, has pledged to allow the Senate to vote on a Bill to re-open the government and fund the Great Wall of Trump. With Democrats generally united against it, and some Republicans urged to take a tough line by their constituents over the shutdown, it is unlikely to win the 60 votes it needs.
Trump and the Republicans hope that…