United States govt shutdown enters 22nd day, breaking record

Miami International Airport said it will close one of its terminals early over the next several days due to a possible shortage of security screeners, who have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate.

Regardless of the resolution people prefer, most agreed they want the shutdown to end and for the government to continue moving forward.

Funding for the border wall remains the sticking point in passing budgets to reopen the government.

The Democrats have threatened immediate legal action if Mr Trump declares a national emergency.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently, said that unless Republicans and Democrats strike an unlikely compromise, "I fully expect him to declare a national emergency". "I could do that very quickly", Trump said during a White House event on border security.

Many lawmakers spent the weekend in their home states - often hearing constituents' complaints about the shutdown - but will return to Washington on Monday.

Lawmakers tried to reassure federal employees that Congress was aware of the financial hardship they are enduring. "Elections have consequences!" he declared, meaning the 2016 election in which "I promised safety and security" and, as part of that, a border wall. The president's about-face - and House Republicans' decision to add $5.7 billion in wall funding to the Senate bill - precipitated the shutdown, which reached Day 22 on Saturday. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also has insisted that Trump end the shutdown first before any negotiating takes place.

Meanwhile, some 800,000 federal employees, more than half still on the job, missed their first paycheque under a stoppage that tied a record for the longest government shutdown.

Since that meeting both sides have blamed each other.

"We need to look at the facts", she said.

"Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are nearly there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug (to) see if we can get a deal", Graham said on "Fox News Sunday".

But he argued that reopening the government and attempting to find a legislative solution, then declaring a national emergency if those talks don't bear fruit, is the best way forward.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the US-Mexican border presents major challenges, ranging from the violent Mexican drug trade to the plight of asylum seekers and poor migrants seeking new lives in the world's richest country. Instead, McConnell last week vowed to stand with Trump in the wall debate, after the president met with all Senate Republicans and pleaded for party unity behind his wall quest.

The White House has suggested building the wall with steel rather than concrete as a key concession.

California Democrat Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted on Saturday that his panel had tried to get the notes but was blocked by Republicans.

In his tweets Saturday, Trump reacted sharply to a televised comment that he lacks a strategy for ending the shutdown.

Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including agriculture, homeland security, state, transportation, interior and justice. And they question who - if anyone other than the president - has the authority to resolve the impasse. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including "Putin's Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments