Government shutdown likely to last until 2019

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal workers continue to work without paychecks

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published December 27, 2018 8:29PM (EST)

A Shutdown placard is seen at the entrance of the Liberty State ferry terminal, January 21, 2018. (Getty/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
A Shutdown placard is seen at the entrance of the Liberty State ferry terminal, January 21, 2018. (Getty/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Six days into the government shutdown, insiders believe it is unlikely that it will end before the new year. That means many federal workers will start off 2019 without paychecks, some not working at all and others being compelled to work without pay.

On Thursday, the House and Senate adjourned after short pro forma sessions and made plans to reconvene on Monday, CNN reports, thus delaying any negotiations until next week. Meanwhile, several lawmakers have commented that no progress has been made on any sort of an agreement.

"At this point, it looks like we could be in for a very long-term shutdown," Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

The government shutdown has affected nearly one-quarter of the government.

According to Politico, House Democrats are plotting how they can reopen the government without granting President Donald Trump any funding for a wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. The reports says that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is considering a few options to deny Trump the $5 billion he's requesting for the wall and send hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers back to their jobs.

Some Democrats are reportedly hopeful they can reopen the government before January 3, which is when Democrats officially take over the House.

“We want ... the government open and my hope is we can get it opened before Jan. 3,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the incoming Rules Committee chairman, via Politico. “If not, one of the first things we’ll do will be to move to pass legislation to re-open the government. And the president can decide whether he wants to sign it or not.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, said he is hopeful it will end on January 3, too.

"I believe Democrats are going to move [to end the shutdown] on Jan. 3," Connolly said, via Politico. "It's got to be the first item of business."

It has become apparent that Trump's resistance to a negotiation is an optics move, and a nod to his voters — yet the drama is causing real harm to communities around the country. Nearly 400,000 federal workers are furloughed and another 400,000 or more are being made to work without being paid. As a result, important government work isn't getting done. There have been threats to slow down access to food assistance and other necessary services, too. 

Trump has shown little concern for these workers. On Thursday, he tweeted that many of the workers who are impacted by the shutdown "are Democrats."

"Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country," Trump tweeted on Thursday, employing his usual verbal stew of needlessly capitalized words. "Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?"

Earlier this week, Trump claimed that many of the federal workers were OK with the shutdown.

"Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, 'stay out until you get the funding for the wall,'" Trump said.

The American Federation of Government Employees, a union that consists of more than 700,000 federal employees, had a different reaction.

"They unequivocally oppose using shutdowns as a means of resolving policy disputes," union president Jeffrey David Cox Sr. said in a statement. "This is not about a wall, this is about 800,000 real people with real families and real bills to pay."

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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