December 26, 2018
Don’t hold your breath: A partial government shutdown remains in effect after funding expired for roughly 25% of the federal government—affecting 800,000 employees—when the clock struck midnight on December 22. It is anybody’s guess when it will end, but chances are it won’t be soon, according to a report by CNN..
A spokesperson for incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN on Sunday, “If Director Mulvaney says the Trump Shutdown will last into the New Year, believe him—because it’s their shutdown.”
Negotiations between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over the President’s demands for $5 billion for a border wall have so far not yielded an agreement, making it likely that the shutdown will continue until after Christmas.
Indeed, the Senate adjourned on December 22 with no deal to re-open the government—and the next actual session is not scheduled until December 27. Lawmakers can travel home for Christmas and won’t have to worry about being called back to vote until a deal can be reached, but GOP leaders told senators that if there is no deal by Thursday, they would not have to return for that session, sources have told CNN.
Both House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer have said that the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will pass a bill to stop the shutdown if it lasts into the new Congress.
“If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January,” the Democratic leaders said in a joint statement after the shutdown started.
According to the CNN report, House Republicans passed a spending bill that included an additional $5 billion for the wall last week, but the legislation is considered dead on arrival in the Senate where Democrats have said they would not support it. Any spending bill needs at least some Democratic votes to pass in the Senate.
Vice President Mike Pence proposed spending $2.5 billion on border security, including the wall, in a stopgap spending bill during meetings on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with Schumer, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Several of the sources said there were policy additions and restrictions included in the proposal to try to bridge the gap. But Democrats said the number and the details tied to it aren’t acceptable.
Following the Saturday meeting, a Schumer spokesman said, “The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer. Unfortunately, we’re still very far apart.”
Key parts of the federal government have been impacted by the shutdown, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Despite the fact that the Justice Department will be impacted, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office will be able to continue working. The SCO “is funded from a permanent indefinite appropriation and would be unaffected in the event of a shutdown,” a Justice Department spokesperson told CNN previously.
Typically in the event of a shutdown, some federal employees deemed essential continue to work, but their pay is withheld until the shutdown is over, while other federal employees are placed on furlough, meaning they are effectively put on a leave of absence without pay. Congress can move to order that furloughed employees be paid retroactively after a shutdown is over, though that is not guaranteed.
An estimated 800,000 federal employees may be impacted by the partial shutdown, CNN said—either by having to work during it while their pay is withheld until it ends or by being furloughed.
More than 420,000 government workers are expected to work without pay in a partial shutdown, according to a fact sheet released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee. That estimate includes more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers. In addition, more than 380,000 federal employees would be placed on furlough, according to the fact sheet.
Research contact: @ckmarie