Government partially shuts down amid border wall dispute

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

A partial government began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, shuttering the departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Commerce, affecting close to 400,000 federal employees in the final weekend before Christmas.

Negotiations were said to be continuing as Democrats and the White House seek to find a solution to the impasse over $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border of the United States. The President tweeted from the White House Saturday saying, “We are negotiating with the Democrats on desperately needed Border Security (Gangs, Drugs, Human Trafficking & more) but it could be a long stay.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that a solution to the shutdown, the third of the Trump administration’s first two years, is largely in the hands of the president and Democrats, particularly House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer was expected to meet with Vice President Pence Saturday, but with the next full session of the Senate scheduled for Thursday, and the minority leader insisting that the president publicly endorse any agreement before a vote is held, there was little hope that an agreement would be reached before then. Pelosi said that a new House of Representatives with a Democratic majority would vote to re-open the government after it’s sworn in on Jan. 3.