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The partial government shutdown has now been in-place for over two weeks and there appears to be little chance of it coming to an end anytime soon. The reasoning behind the shutdown was the Senate’s failure to break an impasse over President Trumps request for further funds for his wall.
Initially it looked as though the shut-down, put into place on December 22 by the Senate leader Republican Mitch McConnell leader would be over by Christmas. However, the stalemate of the border wall is continuing to rumble on well into the new month.
The trigger for the shut-down was President Trump’s request for a $5 billion payments to complete his wall. This was swiftly and sternly rejected by the Democrats of course, and as a sort of protest the President has shut down part of the government in response to essentially not getting what he wants. The building of the wall at the border with Mexico was one of the main prongs of attack during his election campaign. It has been synonymous with Trump and the Republican Party and it was undoubtedly a card he felt would win him a lot of support from the right-wing, nationalist voters. The wall plan has never really gone away, which makes it more satisfying that when President Trump has finally got around to asking Congress; he’s not liked the answer and he’s closed the government.
It seems that there is a new issue almost every week with Trump and his administration. In the past it’s been rumours of ties with Russia during the 2016 election and resignations/sackings of allies within his government. Trump might have felt he had a safer bet with the wall. Granted, he was always going to face a lot of criticism, but no more than he’s faced in the last three years. Yet he would have hoped for the positive feedback from his senators in the house and voters around the country. The publicity over the government shut down will for obvious reasons overshadow any positives for the wall, with little chance of this improving once the shut-down is over.
The human cost of the shut-down, like in most of these situations, is likely not being acknowledged by Trump and his top advisors. 800,000 employees in nine government departments have been affected by the shut-down. Their President has rarely seemed bothered by the prospect of workers being disrupted, being quoted as saying that he would be "proud" to shut down the government. It would hardly be surprising if this was something which Trump would take pride in. It is the third longest government shut down in history, so this could be something for the former Apprentice host to tweet about at some point in the future.
Trump has made it clear that he will call a national emergency to get his wall. This would allow him to go about his business without needing the approval of congress. However, as it stands nothing seems to have been pushed forward on this front.
Late on Tuesday night Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, telling the people that the wall was the only thing which would stop crime and drug trafficking coming over the border. He also felt it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing," surely bringing several branches of the government to a standstill in your own selfish way is more immoral? Trump is becoming the only man to not see that.
The Democratic rebuttal was led by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and she led by saying Trump “must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must re-open the government."
Despite this, the talks appeared to have done very little and hence the government shut-down looks to at least enter its third week. President Trump needs some good news, but it doesn’t look forthcoming anytime soon.