Negotiations at impasse as Government Shutdown enters fifth week


ABC News

Scott Young, Staff Reporter

As of Tuesday, January 22, the United States Federal Government has been shutdown for 32 days, extending its record as the longest in U.S. history.

The shutdown is a result of opposition from congressional Democrats to providing $5.7 billion to President Trump to fund a border wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

At the end of each year, Congress approves a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and whenever there is a delay in passage of a new budget, the government shuts down. What that means is several government offices that are deemed “nonessential” are closed until a budget is passed, leaving many federal workers furloughed or working without pay. Some departments such as Defense, Homeland Security, Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Veterans Affairs are not affected by the shutdown.

“Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl,” said President Trump, in his address to the nation from the Oval Office earlier this month. “Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.”

During his statement, the President indicated that he would be abandoning his idea for a concrete wall at the request of Democrats and advocate for a “steel barrier”.

“The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts. The fact is: On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in response to the President’s address.

Last Saturday, President Trump proposed providing temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for the $5.7 billion to fund a border wall, which the President called a “common-sense compromise”. The counteroffer was swiftly rejected by Democrats, with Speaker Pelosi deeming it a “non-starter” and “unacceptable”, as the offer does not permanently protect DACA recipients. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement condemned the offer as “not a compromise but more hostage taking.”

As the government remains shutdown, federal workers continue to struggle to make ends meet, routine small business loans have halted, and several areas of the government remain closed. With both parties digging their feet in the sand, an end to the government shutdown seems distant.

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