Partial Government Shutdown Likely to Extend Past Christmas - NBC Bay Area
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Partial Government Shutdown Likely to Extend Past Christmas

Even a temporary measure to keep the government running for a few days while negotiations continued seemed out of reach

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    Government Shuts Down as Congress Fails to Agree on Spending

    The U.S. government entered a partial shutdown after Congress failed to reach agreement on a spending bill. (Published Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018)

    The federal government was expected to remain partially shut down past Christmas as the standoff deepened Saturday over President Donald Trump's demand for funds to build a border wall with Mexico.

    With Trump's insistence on $5 billion for the wall and negotiations with Democrats in Congress far from a breakthrough, even a temporary measure to keep the government running while talks continued seemed out of reach until the Senate returned for a full session Thursday.

    From coast to coast, the first day of the shutdown played out in uneven ways. The Statue of Liberty was still open for tours, thanks to funding from New York state, and the U.S. Post Office was still delivering mail, as an independent agency.

    In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was remaining open with state funding, the governor said. But visitors arriving at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico could check out only the surface, not the underground cavern that is the park's main attraction. The memorial to Oklahoma City bombing victims was to continue to operate, but the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center at College Station, Texas, said its National Archives facilities were closed during the shutdown.

    Schumer: ‘Trump Is Plunging the Country Into Chaos’

    [NATL] Schumer: ‘Trump Is Plunging the Country Into Chaos’

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi reacted to President Donald Trump’s refusal to back a bill averting a government shutdown Thursday. Schumer said that between the possible shutdown, the falling stock market and the resignation of Defense Secretary of Jim Mattis, Trump is “plunging the country into chaos.”

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018)

    Yet the disruption affected many government operations and the routines of 800,000 federal employees. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and were expected to work unpaid. An additional 380,000 were to be furloughed, meaning they will stay home without pay. The Senate had already passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay, and the House was likely to follow suit.

    No one knew how long the closures would last. Unlike other shutdowns, this one seemed to lack urgency, coming during the long holiday weekend after Trump had already declared Monday, Christmas Eve, a federal holiday. Rather than work around the clock to try to end the shutdown, as they had done in the past, the leaders of the House and the Senate effectively closed up shop. But they didn't 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.

    But after ushering Vice President Mike Pence through the Capitol for another round of negotiations, the Republican chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, said a quick end to the shutdown was "not probable."

    At the White House, Trump hosted a lunch Saturday with conservative lawmakers, including House Freedom Caucus chiefs Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, and several senators. Absent from the guest list were GOP leaders or any Democrats, who would be needed for a deal.

    "I am in the White House, working hard," tweeted the president, who canceled his Florida holiday getaway to his club Mar-a-Lago due to the shutdown. First lady Melania Trump was flying back to Washington to be with her husband.

    Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments

    [NATL] Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments, Says Would Turn Over to Authorities
    President Trump is flipping the script on foreign election interference, after telling ABC News that he’d consider taking foreign dirt on a political opponent. The president clarified his previous statement on Fox News, saying that “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” to such intelligence, and that “of course” he’d contact the authorities if a foreign power offered it to him.”
     
    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Trump's re-election campaign sent out a fundraising email late Saturday launching what he called "the most important membership program ever - the OFFICIAL BUILD THE WALL MEMBERSHIP." The president urged donors to sign up.

    With Democrats set to take control of the House on Jan. 3, and Speaker Paul Ryan on his way out, the shutdown was providing a last gasp of the conservative majority before the new Congress.

    Trump savored the prospect of a shutdown over the wall for months. Last week he said he would be "proud" to close down the government. He had campaigned on the promise of building the wall, and he also promised Mexico would pay for it. Mexico has refused to do so.

    In recent days, though, Trump tried to shift blame to Democrats for not acceding to his demand. He has given mixed messages on whether he would sign any bill into law.

    After the luncheon at the White House, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, "It's clear to me he believes the additional funding is necessary."

    Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York met with Pence on Saturday at the request of the White House, according to Schumer's office. But the senator's spokesman said they remained "very far apart" on a spending agreement.

    Congress Takes on 'Deepfakes' Leading Up to 2020 Election

    [NATL] Congress Takes on 'Deepfake' Videos s Leading Up to 2020 Election

    Deepfakes, doctored videos with one face realistically superimposed on another, gained attention and alarm from lawmakers leading up to the 2020 presidential elections in an era that saw instant fallout from other altered videos of celebrities and politicians. 

    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Schumer said the "Trump shutdown" could end immediately if the president simply dropped his demand for money. "If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall," Schumer said.

    Democrats said they were open to other proposals that didn't include the wall, which Schumer said was too costly and ineffective. They have offered to keep spending at existing levels of $1.3 billion for border fencing and other security.

    But Trump, digging in, tweeted about "the crisis of illegal activity" at American's southern border is "real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall."

    Republican leaders largely stayed in the background of the negotiations. McConnell acknowledged that any deal to reopen government would require Democratic support for passage and the president's signature.

    Senators approved a bipartisan deal earlier in the week to keep the government open into February and provide $1.3 billion for border security projects, but not the wall. But as Trump faced criticism from conservatives for "caving" on a campaign promise, he pushed to House to approve a package temporarily financing the government but also setting aside $5.7 billion for the border wall.

    A test vote in the Senate on Friday showed that Republicans lacked the 60 votes needed to advance the House plan.

    Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    [NATL] Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be leaving her post at the end of June.

    (Published Thursday, June 13, 2019)

    Pelosi, poised to become speaker, said in a letter to colleagues Saturday that "until President Trump can publicly commit to a bipartisan resolution, there will be no agreement before January when the new House Democratic Majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government."

    The impasse blocked money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

    Those being furloughed included nearly everyone at NASA and 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service. About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service were to stay home; many parks were expected to close.

    Some agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, were already funded and will operate as usual. Also still functioning were the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard. Transportation Security Administration officers continued to staff airport checkpoints and air traffic controllers were on the job.

    Many of Congress' most conservative Republicans welcomed such a confrontation, but most GOP lawmakers wanted to avoid one because polling showed the public opposed the wall and a shutdown over it.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said, "This is a complete failure of negotiations and a success for no one."

    Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    [NATL] Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    Former vice president and current Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and President Donald Trump held dueling events in Iowa on Thursday.

    (Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019)

    Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.