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Saturday
Jan122019

Government Shutdown Passes Record; No End in Sight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A partial U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border entered its 22nd day on Saturday, making it the longest shuttering of federal agencies in U.S. history, with no end in sight. 

Trump, holed up in the White House with Congress adjourned for the weekend, warned of a much lengthier impasse and blamed the Democrats. 

“We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their ‘vacations’ and get back to work,” he tweeted. 

Democrats say Trump shut the government in a “temper tantrum” by refusing to sign bipartisan funding legislation last year that did not include money for his wall. 

The closure, which began on Dec. 22, broke a decades-old record by a 1995-1996 shutdown under former President Bill Clinton that lasted 21 days.

Federal workers affected missed their first paychecks on Friday, heightening concerns about mounting financial pressures on employees, including air traffic controllers and airport security officials who continue to work without pay. 

Roughly 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks that would have gone out on Friday. Some have resorted to selling their possessions or posting appeals on online fundraising sites to help pay their bills. 

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. 

A union that represents thousands of air traffic controllers sued the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday, saying it had violated federal wage law by failing to pay workers. It is at least the third lawsuit filed by unions on behalf of unpaid workers. 

The head of the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, has warned employees that financial stress can lead to depression and anxiety. “Keep an eye out for warning signs of trouble,” Director R.D. “Tex” Alles wrote in a memo seen by Reuters. 

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