US shutdown could stretch into January, Trump aide warns

Trump earlier in the week scuttled an agreement that would have kept the government open through February 8 after coming under heavy criticism from conservative talk show hosts and some allies in the House because the measure didn't include the funding he wanted for the wall.

"We are negotiating with the Democrats on desperately needed Border Security (Gangs, Drugs, Human Trafficking & more) but it could be a long stay", Trump said on Twitter on Saturday. "This is politics, not policy".

He pointed out other times when Senate Democrats had voiced support for border wall funding and yet now objected to any funds that would go toward an actual wall.

How is the shutdown playing out?

New York's governor provided funding to the Statue of Liberty monument and Ellis Island so those key attractions could remain open.

According to a report by Democrats on the senate appropriations committee, more than 420,000 federal employees deemed essential would continue to work without pay during a partial shutdown, including about 41,000 law enforcement and corrections officers and almost 150,000 Homeland Security employees. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and were expected to work unpaid. After previous shutdowns, Congress also has passed legislation to retroactively pay furloughed workers.

After Trump bizarrely complained the Federal Reserve doesn't "have a feel" for the markets and "is like a powerful golfer who can't score because he has no touch" ― major indexes dove more than 2 percent in the worst Christmas Eve trading day ever, extending the worst plunge since the 2008 financial crisis.

But they did not rule out action if a deal were struck.

"Listen, anything can happen", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after he closed the Senate's rare Saturday session hours after it opened. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who was the only member of the GOP leadership to attend.

The president scheduled a border security meeting Monday afternoon at the White House with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other department officials, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Outside the White House, Washington's National Christmas Tree became a forlorn symbol of the dysfunction when the National Park Service - one of the government bodies hit by the funding shutdown - briefly turned off the lights.

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, also warned on Saturday that the shutdown may not be resolved until early January, when her party takes control of the chamber.

Trump had savored the prospect of a shutdown over the wall. This past week he said he would be "proud" to close down the government.

Trump promised during the campaign to build a border wall.

Republicans were saddled with the blame, but most Americans suffered relatively minor inconveniences like closed parks and delays in processing passport applications. He announced he wasn't going to sign any bill without $5 billion to begin construction. Few things anger him more than anonymously sourced stories that paint a picture of dysfunction inside the White House. A spokesman for Schumer said after the offer that the two sides were far apart in negotiations.

Meanwhile, Trump, who was set to jet out to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for about 16 days, has now changed his plans and has reportedly cancelled his Christmas trip in view of the shutdown.

Democrats said they were open to proposals that don't include a wall, which Schumer said is costly and ineffective. Democrats say no way and have offered $1.3 billion for what they call border security.

Building the wall was one of Trump's most frequently repeated campaign promises but Democrats are vehemently opposed to it.

  • Tracy Klein