The partial shutdown of the US government becomes the longest of all time


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Media legend: Why has the US government partially shut down?

The partial shutdown of the US government has become the longest of all time, with no end visible for the political stalemate.

Saturday, it will reach its 22nd day, surpassing the previous record: the closing of 21 days in 1995-96 under President Bill Clinton.

President Donald Trump refuses to approve a budget unless it provides funds for a wall on the Mexican border.

Democrats rejected his $ 5.7 billion request.

About one-quarter of the federal government is still down until an expenditure plan is agreed, leaving 800,000 unpaid employees.

On Friday, these workers – including prison guards, airport staff and FBI agents – lost their first salary of the year.

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Media caption – I do not need a wall, I want money to plant crops & # 39;

Meanwhile, President Trump has quieted speculation that he was about to declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and get the money he needs. His border wall project was a key electoral commitment.

He described an emergency statement as an "easy fix" and said he would prefer that Congress solve the problem.

But he added: "If they can not do it … I will declare a national emergency, I have the absolute right."

The correspondents say that the Democrats would organize an immediate court challenge if Mr. Trump acted in this way.

How did the workers react?

On Friday, workers who missed their first payday of the year shared their blank pay slips on social media.

Oscar Murillo, an aerospace engineer at NASA, posted his $ 0 check on Twitter and said that he had actually lost money because of compulsory deductions.

Cat Heifner, another Twitter user, shared what she said was her brother's payslip, showing that he had been paid a penny for his job as an air traffic controller.

A food bank in Washington DC is organizing five ephemeral markets Saturday for unpaid federal workers.

Radha Muthiah, head of Capital Area Food Bank, said dozens of volunteers were working on packing food bags for the affected staff.

Meanwhile, the Craigslist classified ads website has been inundated with lists of government employees trying to sell their property.

Items ranging from beds to old toys have been listed as "government stop specials".

"Sale price: $ 93.88 at Walmart, $ 10 request," reads in an ad for the rocking chair for children. "We need money to pay our bills."

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The wall, or barrier, promised by President Trump on the Mexican border is a key element of the closure

Of the 800,000 unpaid federal employees, about 350,000 are on leave – some sort of temporary layoff – while the rest continue to work.

Thousands of people reportedly claimed unemployment benefits in a climate of financial uncertainty.

A major airport, Miami International, will close a whole terminal this weekend due to a shortage of security agents brought on by the closure.

Agents are "essential" federal employees and are expected to work – although they are not paid until the end of the closure.

Instead, many agents call sick to protest the situation, reports the Miami Herald.

What is the political situation?

The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill on Friday to ensure that all government employees receive retroactive pay at the end of the closed period. The president should sign the bill.

But this can be a small consolation for federal employees currently in a desperate situation, with no imminent dead end.

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President Trump shows no signs of recoil

Friday, at a roundtable on border security with state and local leaders, Mr. Trump again asked Democrats to approve funding for a wall or a steel barrier.

However, the Democratic leader of the US House of Representatives said the ball was in Mr. Trump's camp.

President Nancy Pelosi told reporters, "When the president acts, we will react to everything he does."

According to the Associated Press, the main White House aide, Jared Kushner – Mr. Trump's son-in-law – is among those who have warned the president against reporting a situation of "evil". national emergency.

US media reports that the White House plans to divert some of the $ 13.9 billion allocated by Congress last year to disaster relief operations in areas such as Puerto Rico, Texas and California to pay the wall.

But Republican MP Mark Meadows, who is close to the president, said the option was not seriously considered.

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