Government Shutdown Could Last Through January, White House Budget Director Says

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The government shutdown, triggered shortly after midnight on Saturday night, is likely to continue once the new Senate is in session on January 3, according to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

As reported by USA Today, the shutdown was triggered after U.S. President Donald Trump and the Senate came to an impasse over funding for his border wall. With most lawmakers having left Washington D.C. for the Christmas holidays, it is guaranteed to continue for at least the next few days.

Trump has been demanding $5 billion to build his border wall, but the Senate has only budged to allow $1.3 billion. While it was reported that Trump backed down just slightly to a lower figure on Saturday, that number has not been released, and by the time that happened, Washington had already been cleared of lawmakers until Thursday.

Despite this number change, Mulvaney has stated that the president is not backing down on the issue of the border wall.

“We moved off the 5 – we hope they move off the 1.3,” Mulvaney said, adding of the Democrats, “The ball right now is in their corner.”

According to Mulvaney, the federal paychecks set to go out on December 28 will still be paid, but those due for January 11 will be affected by the shutdown.

“This is what having a president who is nontraditional, who’s a different kind of president who looks like,” Mulvaney said. “He is not going to be an ordinary president and that’s not what people wanted when they elected him.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, also spoke on the issue, calling the shutdown “unnecessary” and “juvenile” given that both parties want to work on immigration issues.

Both Republicans and Democrats previously agreed to legislation that would provide $25 billion for border security, but the legislation wasn’t approved in the end.

This shutdown appears to be the culmination of a chaotic time in the Trump presidency, coming on the heels of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation of Thursday, Trump’s bizarre announcement that he had defeated ISIS in Syria and will be withdrawing U.S. troops from the region, the plummeting of the stock market, and Trump’s personal attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) has blamed the shutdown on Trump’s “two-week temper tantrum,” adding that the Senate has no interest “in swindling American taxpayers for an unnecessary, ineffective and wasteful policy.”

“President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple,” he said.

With the Senate not scheduled to be in session until Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) has stated senators will be told when they will need to vote on the issue, and negotiations will continue in the meantime.

This makes the third shutdown this year and has left 800,000 government employees forced to go on furlough or working without pay.

The government agencies that have been impacted include the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Patrol, the IRS, and national parks and forests. In all, there are nine departments that have been affected, and they are Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development.