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U.S. shutdown could stretch into January, Trump aide warns

U.S. shutdown could stretch into January, Trump aide warns

Last week, the central bank hiked rates, infuriating Trump, who has ignored a traditional respect for the Fed's independence, calling it "crazy", "out of control" and a greater economic threat than China.

With Congress out of town and the debate over Trump's demand for a US$5 billion US-Mexico border wall at an impasse, the president sat holed up, tweeting no less than 10 times by early afternoon to lash out at opponents and reject responsibility for a plummeting stock market.

The partial government shutdown over funding for President Trump's border wall may continue into the new year, said White House Budget Director and incoming acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney, who also runs the White House budget office, said he's awaiting a response from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY after the administration on Saturday presented Schumer with a counteroffer in the long-running dispute over funding the wall.

Trump's own Republican party still controls both the House and Senate, but in January the House comes under Democratic control.

Following the Saturday meeting, a Schumer spokesman said, "The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer".

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued for increased use of technology along the border instead of "some medieval wall".

But when an interviewer asked whether Democrats weren't going to provide any wall money, Merkley responded: "That's correct". Several Cabinet departments and agencies have been closed since Saturday after their funding lapsed.

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

Monday and Tuesday, Christmas Eve and Christmas, respectively, are federal holidays, meaning the government would have been closed anyway.

The first day of the shutdown played out unevenly.

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump "threw a temper tantrum and convinced House Republicans to push our nation into a destructive Trump shutdown in the middle of the holiday season". The negotiations have centered on border security funding amounts and how that spending would be restricted.

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The South Carolina senator said he was glad Trump "picked this fight", explaining that if Republicans don't fight for more money for border security now, Democrats will never let them have it.

He put off plans to spend Christmas at his Florida estate and remained in Washington.

Meanwhile, more than 380,000 employees will be furloughed - including almost all of Nasa and Housing and Urban Development and 41,000 Commerce Department employees.

The shutdown meant that more than 400,000 federal employees reported to their jobs on Monday without getting paid, while almost 400,000 others "will be locked out of work with no pay", the American Federation of Government Employees union said. After previous shutdowns, Congress also has passed legislation to retroactively pay furloughed workers. Trump campaigned on building a wall, which he'd originally said Mexico would pay for.

Republican and Democratic senators alike expressed grave concern about Mattis's departure, which was spurred by Trump's decision to pull USA troops from Syria, despite the objections of military leaders and his own defense secretary.

In a tweet Monday, Trump compared the Fed to a blundering golfer "who can't score because he has no touch - he can't putt!".

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has a message for Democrats who oppose President Donald Trump's border wall - and he's not holding back.

"This is something that is unnecessary. It´s a spectacle and, candidly, it´s juvenile", said Corker, speaking in his final days before stepping down from Congress. "The whole thing is juvenile", Corker said in arguing for real measures that he maintains will secure the border better than a wall.

Democrats have said they are open to budget proposals that do not include the wall, which they say would be costly and ineffective.

"I spoke to the president last night, he wants that", Purdue said, adding: "I'm hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and we'll get to some number between $1.6 (billion) and $5 billion on that". "It has proven to lack even 50 votes", Schumer exclaimed.

Some agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, were already funded and will operate as usual.


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