The longest government shutdown in U.S. history entered its 32nd day on Tuesday, and the Democrats say they plan to reject President Donald Trump’s latest offer to end the stalemate.
If the shutdown continues through this week that is already shortened by Martin Luther King Day, 800,000 federal workers will go miss their second straight paycheck, which has devastated the TSA and wreaked havoc at U.S. airports where long lines are now the norm.
The number of TSA agents who took unscheduled leave — many because they can’t even buy gas to get to work — hit its highest level over the weekend. The TSA says about 10 percent of its workforce took off on Sunday with many citing “financial limitations.”
Trump gave a speech on Jan. 19, saying he would support a number of immigration-related proposals in exchange for $5.7 billion for his long-promised border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote for the president’s latest proposal in the Senate on Tuesday, but it will need Democratic support to top the 60-vote threshold.
Democrats want the government opened before negotiations begin and said they will reject Trump’s latest offer, saying they don’t want to reward the president for holding federal workers hostage because he’ll just use the tactic again.
“We would love to have a permanent fix” for people eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as immigrants with Temporary Protected Status “just as he wants a permanent wall,” said Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat. But reopen the government first, Clyburn insisted.
Risking anger from his core conservative allies, Trump said his latest proposal doesn’t include “amnesty,” but said he’s prepared to offer that for the right price.
“Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else,” he tweeted on Sunday, before adding a warning to Pelosi: “Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!”
The stalemate leaves Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer facing another choice as lawmakers return to town: make a fresh counteroffer of their own that would include wall money, or stick to their previously unified negotiating positions and hope a majority of the public continues to blame the president or Republicans.
Pelosi’s Democrats, meanwhile, plan more votes of their own in the House to reopen the government, with a new offer of $1 billion for border upgrades — but not a wall — on tap this week.