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Partial US govt shutdown over border wall enters day 2, no deal in sight

Trump has dug in on his demand for USD5 billion for construction of the border wall, a signature campaign promise and part of his effort to reduce illegal immigration

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

Partial US govt shutdown over border wall enters day 2, no deal in sight

A partial shutdown that entered its second day on Sunday was set to stretch through Christmas, after adjourned for the weekend with no deal in sight to end an impasse over funding for Donald Trump's wall on the US-border.

Due to the shutdown -- in which several key US agencies ceased operations at 12:01 am (0501 GMT) Saturday -- Trump said he would remain in over instead of going to

"I am in the White House, working hard," the tweeted. "We are negotiating with the Democrats on desperately needed Border Security (Gangs, Drugs, Human Trafficking & more) but it could be a long stay."

Trump has dug in on his demand for USD5 billion for construction of the border wall, a signature campaign promise and part of his effort to reduce illegal immigration. Democrats are staunchly opposed, and the absence of a deal meant federal funds for dozens of agencies lapsed at midnight Friday.

The and the held sessions on Saturday, but both chambers adjourned without agreement, and no votes were expected until Thursday.

Visitors to the capital's park-like National Mall, home to attractions including war memorials and the towering Monument, criticized the shutdown which added to an air of chaos in a capital still reeling from Jim Mattis's resignation last week over Trump policies.

The uncertainty also helped pushed Wall Street into another rout on Friday, ending its worst week in a decade.

"Oh I think it's ridiculous. It's unnecessary," Philip Gibbs, a retired from South Virginia, said of the shutdown.

Jeffrey Grignon, a worker, said the politicians "need to stop acting like children" and do the work they were elected to do.

"It isn't just one or two people. It's all them," he said.

Another visitor, Howard Vander Griend, 57, predicted Trump will come out a winner from the budget impasse.

"I don't think the shutdown will pressure Trump at all," said Vander Griend, of "So I think he will get what he wants and I think that's a good thing."

Although tourists could still stroll along the Mall and visit its open-air sites, they found public restrooms closed. Some other tourist sites including the Visitor Center, National Tree, and National Archives -- home to the US Constitution and other historic documents -- were closed.

Some national parks have shuttered completely, but New York's provided funding to the Statue of and so those attractions could remain open.

This is the third partial government shutdown of the year, even though Trump's own still controls both the House and

That will change in January when the House comes under Democratic control. Top Democrat blamed the

"The Trump shutdown isn't over border security; it's because President Trump is demanding billions of dollars for an expensive, ineffective wall that the majority of Americans don't support," Schumer said.

Most critical US security functions remain operational, but 800,000 federal workers are affected, with many furloughed before Others deemed essential, including officers screening passengers during the holiday crush, are working unpaid.

of -- a state bordering the US capital that is home to many federal employees -- urged Trump in a letter Saturday to push immediate action to end the shutdown, saying it "inflicts real harm" on workers.

"I share your desire for strong economic growth throughout the United States, but the current partial government shutdown makes it harder to achieve this goal," the said.

About three-quarters of the government, including the military and the Department of Health and Human Services, is fully funded until the end of September 2019, leaving 25 per cent unfunded as of Saturday.

One focus of last-minute discussions was USD 1.6 billion in border security support that was a part of pending Senate legislation, number two Senate Republican told AFP.

Conservatives in the House would likely balk at that figure.

Trump had reversed course Thursday and rejected a measure that had unanimously passed the Senate and was under House consideration. It would have extended government funding until February 8 to allow time for debate about issues including border security, but it contained no money for a wall.

With ultra-conservative lawmakers and demanding that the president stick to his campaign promises, Trump stood his ground on the wall.

The House then swiftly passed a bill that fulfilled the president's demands and included USD 5.7 billion in wall funding, but it stalled at the first hurdle in the Senate.

First Published: Sun, December 23 2018. 13:45 IST