Congress returns as longest shutdown stretches to day 24

January 14, 2019 - 6:16 am
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Here's what's up with the partial government shutdown on Day 24.

WHAT'S NEW

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is close to President Donald Trump, says he's been pushing the president to reopen the government for a few weeks to continue negotiating with Democrats over funding for a border wall before bypassing Congress and declaring a national emergency.

"If we can't (get a deal) at the end of three weeks, all bets are off," Graham told "Fox News Sunday."

Canadian air traffic controllers are buying pizzas for their American counterparts in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Anchorage, Alaska, as a show of support. Some 10,000 air traffic controllers in the U.S. have been working without pay since Dec. 22.

A terminal at Miami International Airport is set to reopen Monday after being closed at times over the weekend due to a shutdown-induced staff shortage. Transportation Security Administration agents have been calling out sick to protest not being paid for their work.

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QUOTES OF THE DAY

"It's one-tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget. If we cannot do this together, what else can we not do in the future? This is not that big of a problem." — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California to CBS' "Face the Nation" on the $5.7 billion Trump wants for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

"I think it ends when the Senate Republicans say we've had enough. We're not going to stand here and be blamed for this. We believe the government should be opened. There should be timely negotiations on border security after the government is open." — Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to ABC's "This Week."

RELATED: Federal contractor living off ramen noodles during shutdown

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WHAT'S COMING NEXT?

Congress returns on Monday. Will the shutdown end this week?

Trump addresses the American Farm Bureau on Monday. Farmers have supported Trump through a trade war with China that cost them billions, but they are complaining about the loss of loans, payments and other agricultural services because of the shutdown.

Trump is expected to sign legislation this week authorizing back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who either have been idled or are working without pay for as long as the shutdown lasts.

Trump has kept Washington on edge over whether he would resort to an emergency declaration, citing what he says is a "crisis" of drug smuggling and the trafficking of women and children at the border. The president initially sounded as though such a move was imminent, but then pulled back. He has said several times since he first mentioned the idea in public this month that he prefers a legislative solution.

A key question is how much more time is Trump willing to give lawmakers. Graham, who spoke with Trump by telephone on Sunday morning, said the legislative path "is just about shut off" and blamed intransigence by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The speaker's office had no immediate comment.

Democrats oppose an emergency declaration but may be powerless to block it. Some Republicans are wary, too, fearing how a future Democratic president might use that authority. Such a move, should Trump ultimately go that route, would almost certainly be challenged in the courts.

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WHAT REMAINS CLOSED

Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including Agriculture , Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Interior and Justice. Some iconic National Park facilities are shuttered as are the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington. Nearly everyone at NASA is being told to stay home, as are most at the Internal Revenue Service, which processes tax returns and issues refunds, though the administration says it will issue refunds during the shutdown.

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WHO IS AT WORK BUT NOT GETTING PAID

Some 420,000 federal employees whose work is declared essential are working without pay, including the FBI, TSA and other federal law enforcement officers. Some staff at the State and Homeland Security departments are also working without compensation.