With Christmas Day in the rear view mirror, the government shutdown enters its fifth day — with no end in sight.
Wednesday is the first full business day after the government largely closed its doors at midnight Friday after Congress and the White House couldn’t agree on a spending plan that included President Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a wall on the southern border.
Most federal workers haven’t been fully affected by the shutdown because Monday and Tuesday were federal holidays – although many national parks were shuttered and some government services were halted.
About 800,000 government workers will either be furloughed or have to work without pay until after the shutdown.
The House and Senate are out until Thursday and there were no indications that negotiations to end the shutdown were underway over the past few days.
Trump, speaking to reporters in the White House after a Christmas Day phone call to US troops, said he wouldn’t budge from his calls for a border wall.
“I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump said.
With Democrats opposed to a concrete barrier, Trump has taken to describing the wall as made of “steel slats.”
“I’ll call it whatever they want, but it’s all the same thing,” Trump said.
But the barrier is necessary to keep drugs and criminals from crossing the Mexican border into the US.
“We can’t do it without a barrier. We can’t do it without a wall,” he said. “The only way you’re going to do it is to have a physical barrier, meaning a wall.”
He also said government workers have encouraged him to remain resolute and keep the government closed until he gets his wall.
“Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, ‘stay out until you get the funding for the wall,’” the commander-in-chief said. “These federal workers want the wall. The only one that doesn’t want the wall are the Democrats.”
Congressional Democrats have balked at providing $5 billion for the wall that they claim is inefficient, costly and useless in keeping immigrants from crossing the border.
Instead they have offered to allocate $1.3 billion for border security.
With Post wires
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