House Democrats will instantly place their political power to the test on Thursday by going to reopen the national authorities, setting up a confrontation with President Donald Trump, since the partial government shutdown enters its 13th day.
Democratic leaders have scheduled a set of votes on a box of bills to finish the shutdown and give Congress more time to negotiate a deal with the White House on boundary financing.
The votes will come soon after Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi yields as Speaker of the House and Democrats recover the majority for the very first time in eight years.
But even when the invoices are accepted, as anticipated, the shutdown will probably go on. The package still has to clear the GOP controlled Senate, but majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has stated he will not call for a vote on legislation to end the confrontation if it’s Trump’s backing.
Trump already has denounced the Democratic plan as it lacks money for a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border. And in the White House on Wednesday, he showed no sign of backing down.
Asked how long the shutter would last, Trump told reporters As long as it takes.
Nine national departments and many smaller agencies – representing a quarter of the national government – closed down on Dec. 22 when their financing lapsed and Democratic congressmen and the White House failed to strike a deal to keep them open.
The sticking point has been Trump’s insistence on $5 billion in financing for a boundary wall, although he promised repeatedly throughout his presidential campaign he’d make Mexico pay for the arrangement.
In a last ditch effort to maintain the government open, the House voted in late December, mostly along party lines, to give Trump $5.7 billion to the wall at one of the then GOP majority’s final acts. But that measure never acquired a vote in the Senate, promising the shutdown will begin two weeks later.
Among the invoices that the Democratic majority will likely push on Thursday would finance all shuttered departments except for Homeland Security during the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
The other would offer temporary financing for Homeland Security via Feb. 8, purchasing lawmakers and the White House more time to solve their standoff over boundary wall financing.
In the mean time, the shutdown’s effect is beginning to become more visible in several places following the holidays, when many government offices have been already scheduled to be closed.
In Washington, the Smithsonian Institution closed 19 museums and the National Zoo on Wednesday due to a shortage of capital. The Smithsonian had been in a position to stay open through Jan. 1 by employing past year financing.
Some national parks reported human faces, overflowing trash, prohibited off roading along with other damaging behaviour. The shutdown has forced furloughs of tens of thousands of federal workers, leaving several parks without the majority of the rangers and others that staff campgrounds and otherwise maintain parks running. Joshua Tree National Park in California has closed its campgrounds following the loss of sanitation workers resulted in overflowing toilets.
Thousands of federal workers who have been placed on furlough or forced to work without pay are starting to wonder when they will see their next pay check. In the past, including the 16-day shutdown in 2013, federal workers received back pay. But there’s no guarantee that will happen this time because it requires Congress and the White House to work together to pass a law mandating the back pay.