The widespread impact of America’s longest partial government shutdown continues, with no end in sight.
Widespread polls have shown the American people are more inclined to point the finger at President Donald Trump for the ongoing government shutdown, despite his best efforts to put the blame on intransigent Democratic opponents.
According to a new Ipsos/Reuters poll, 51% of Americans say Trump is responsible for the impasse, while 34% blame Democrats in Congress and 6% blame Republicans in Congress. Those figures have remained reasonably stable across January polls, but may change as Senate Republicans – particularly Mitch McConnell – block House-passed bills to reopen federal government.
“The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues,” McConnell said, after blocking the latest bill.
Stonewalling the wall
So far the shutdown has gone on since December 22, with no end in sight after Congress, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stared down the president on US$5.7 billion funding for his pet project, The Wall. Consequent attempts to negotiate have been less than fruitful, with Trump storming out of one meeting and floating the idea of declaring a national emergency to get the border wall built.
He has since backed away from this idea, despite this public urging from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham:
Just met with President @realDonaldTrump and his team.
It’s clear to both of us that Democrats don’t want to make a deal and will never support border wall/barriers.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 11, 2019
Who, uhhh, also changed his mind on that plan:
Mr. President, you’re right to continue the fight for border security – including a Wall/barrier that Democrats have supported in the past.
No Wall, No Deal.
Use emergency powers as last resort.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 13, 2019
The shutdown continues to have widespread impact across the US, with consequences both serious and bizarre.
A man sent Trump an invoice for US$28 after cleaning up a squalid national park toilet, Smithsonian museums have closed their doors for the time being and college football students were “treated” to a White House dinner of fast food, served on presidential silver and paid for out of Trump’s pocket.
More seriously, the Coast Guard has had to resort to charity in order to get paid, while savages felt justified in cutting down protected Joshua trees and setting up illegal campsites. Federal courts are scheduled to run out of operating funds on January 25, unless things are resolved, and queues are growing longer in some airports as TSA agents stay home rather than work for free.
Nearly four in 10 adults say they are affected by the shutdown or know someone who is, as around 800,000 federal workers continue to go unpaid – costing the US economy 0.13% growth per week.