President Donald Trump: “It’s a barrier from people pouring into the country, from drugs!”

Donald Trump has marked Christmas Day by insisting the partial shutdown of the federal government will last until his demand for funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border is met.

The US government partially shut down on Saturday, and there is not yet any sign of tangible efforts to reopen agencies closed by a political impasse over Trump’s demand for border wall funds.

 


He added: “If you don’t have that [the wall], then we’re just not opening.”

Funding for about a quarter of federal programs – including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture – expired at midnight on Friday. Without a deal to break the impasse, the shutdown is likely to stretch into the new year.

Trump’s latest comments come a day after top Democrats accused the president of “plunging the country into chaos” as top officials met to discuss a growing rout in stock markets caused in part by the president’s persistent attacks on the Federal Reserve and a government shutdown.

“It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” the two top Democrats in Congress, the House speaker nominee, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, wrote in a joint statement on Monday.

“The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the secretary of defense.”

Trump criticized the Federal Reserve on Monday, describing it as the “only problem” for the US economy, even as top officials convened the “plunge protection team” forged after the 1987 crash to discuss the growing rout in stock markets.
The crisis call on Monday between US financial regulators and the US treasury department failed to assure markets, and stocks fell again amid concern about slowing economic growth, the continuing government shutdown, and reports that Trump had discussed firing the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell.

The Dow Jones plummeted 653 points in a shortened trading day on Monday, capping its worst week in a decade and reportedly marking its “worst day of Christmas Eve trading ever”. Investors appeared increasingly skittish.

The S&P 500 also dropped 2.7%, leaving it on pace for its biggest percentage decline in December since the Great Recession and indicating a move to a bear market, according to CNBC.

House and Senate members could not broker a deal before Congress’s adjournment for the holiday and prior to this deadlock, however, and Trump warned of a “very long shutdown”.

Building the wall was one of Trump’s most frequently repeated campaign promises, but Democrats are vehemently opposed to it. More than 420,000 federal employees will work without getting paid over the holidays during the partial shutdown.

US government employees will work without pay over Christmas if Trump goes ahead with shutdown
Hundreds of thousands of government workers – among them border guards and airport security staff – will work without pay over the Christmas holiday if Donald Trump and the Democrats do not agree a budget spending deal.

As the president threatened a partial shutdown of the government that would “last for a very long time” if he did not receive $5bn for a border wall as part of the budget, the senate began consideringa Republican bill that contains such a sum, but which had virtually no chance of getting Democratic support.

Last week, Mr Trump said he would be “proud” to allow a shutdown if it meant he secured a border wall. After senators two days ago passed a bipartisan measure that contained funding for border security – but not a wall – the president dug his heels in and tried to blame his opponents. “If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat shutdown,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, as politicians on Capitol Hill engaged in a blame game, the cost of a shutdown became clearer.

The New York Times said unless a budget was agreed by the deadline of midnight on Friday, nine government departments would close and as many a 420,000 federal employees would work over the holiday period without pay.

Among the departments to shut would be the treasury, agriculture, homeland security, the interior, state, housing and urban development, transportation, commerce and justice.

It said hundreds of thousands of workers considered “essential” – among them prison officer, border agents and weather service forecasters – will have to work without pay. The newspaper added that 42,000 Coast Guard employees expected to be among those working without pay, and that 53,000 members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the man and women who oversee security at airports, will also be working without remuneration.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!

 

On Friday, Mr Trump hailed the House bill that included more than $5bn for a wall including slats and walls. Democrats have said they are willing to spend on border security but do not believe a wall is not necessary and is more a political giveaway to the president’s supporters.

Mr Trump claimed the wall will “pay for itself” on a monthly basis – a calculation he did not fully explain.
“I don’t think the Democrats care very much about this,” he said. “But it’s a big issue.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell urged approval of the bill, which includes $5.7bn for a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Mr McConnell said the bill is neither “radical” nor difficult to explain. Instead he said it addresses a crisis at the border that includes illegal drug smuggling and increased apprehensions of people trying to cross illegally into the US, the Associated Press said.

         

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