“No End To Shutdown In Sight” As Trump Promises “Whatever It Takes” To Fund The Wall

“No End To Shutdown In Sight” As Trump Promises “Whatever It Takes” To Fund The Wall

During a surprise visit with US troops in Iraq on Wednesday, President Trump offered his own spin on Mario Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” line when asked about what it would take to break the impasse and deliver a funding bill to end the partial government shutdown, which entered its sixth day on Thursday.

Illustrating just how difficult it might be for Trump to work out a compromise, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that she would work to pass a funding bill similar to one passed by the Senate last month that doesn’t include the $5 billion in wall funding (instead, they’re standing by their offer of $1.3 billion) – though it’s unlikely that the president will sign it, or that both chambers can muster the super-majority needed to override the president’s veto.

Whatever it takes,” Trump said. “I mean, we’re gonna have a wall. We’re gonna have safety. We need safety for our country.”

Senate and the House of Representatives were set to meet at 4 pm EST on the sixth day of the shutdown and resume debating ways to end it. That will include Senate consideration of a measure already approved by the Republican-controlled House that meets Trump’s wall-funding demand.

In his latest tweet bashing Democrats for placing politics above security, Trump referenced the fact that the bureaucracy has a well-known Democratic bias by reminding Democrats that “most of the people not getting paid” are Democrats.

To be sure, as Reuters explains, most of the federal government, which directly employs almost 4 million people, is unaffected by the shutdown. The Defense, Energy, Labor and other departments are funded through Sept. 30 of next year. And even agencies that are affected never totally close, with workers deemed “essential” still performing their duties. “Non-essential” federal workers at unfunded agencies will remain on furlough and staying home. Both they and essential employees will not get paychecks after December until the shutdown ends. The 435-seat House was also set to reopen on Thursday.

Here’s a run down of where the budget standoff stands (courtesy of Bloomberg):

  • After weeks of failed talks between Trump and congressional leaders, parts of the U.S. government shut down on Saturday, affecting about 800,000 employees of the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies.
  • Analysts are still largely projecting that the shutdown drama will last until well into January.
  • “We continue to believe that it is unlikely that Congress will come up with a deal to end the current partial shutdown until well into January,” said financial firm Height Securities in a commentary note on Wednesday.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Trump said during the Iraq visit that the shutdown would last as long as it takes to get the funding he wants for the border wall and additional security.
  • The president declined to say what level of funding he’d accept.
  • Republicans said they were waiting for a counteroffer from Democrats to the proposal said to have been made by Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday of $2.1 billion for new border barriers, along with $400 million for other Trump immigration priorities.
  • Even with most lawmakers out of town, some discussions were taking place, according to congressional aides.
  • Trump is scheduled to return to Washington on Thursday.

These are the next steps…

  • Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have been negotiating with the Trump administration. Once they reach agreement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’ll seek a vote on the deal.
  • If the shutdown lasts past Jan. 3, when Democrats take control of the House, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who is in line to become speaker, said the chamber will pass a spending bill to reopen the government — without money for a wall.

…And key takeaways:

  • The shutdown, which began Saturday, affects nine of 15 federal departments, dozens of agencies and hundreds of thousands of workers.
  • Among the departments without funding are: Justice, Homeland Security, Interior and Treasury. Independent agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, are also affected.
  • The departments whose funding lapsed represent about a quarter of the $1.24 trillion in government discretionary spending for fiscal year 2019.
  • An estimated 400,000 federal employees will work without pay and 350,000 will now be furloughed, according to a congressional Democratic aide.
  • Federal employees working without pay and those now furloughed will get their Dec. 28 pay checks under a decision by the White House budget office since pay reflects work before Dec. 21.
  • The remaining parts of the government, including the Defense Department, Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, were already funded and won’t be affected by the shutdown, nor will mandatory entitlement programs like Medicare payments.

With no deal currently on the table, many Wall Street analysts see no end to the shutdown in sight:

“We continue to believe that it is unlikely that Congress will come up with a deal to end the current partial shutdown until well into January,” said financial firm Height Securities in a commentary note on Wednesday.

Even after Democrats take the House, the gridlock in Washington will persist until Pelosi caves – or Trump does.

This article appeared at ZeroHedge.com at: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-27/trump-promises-whatever-it-takes-fund-wall-shutdown-enters-6th-day