The federal government was expected to remain partially shut down past Christmas as the standoff deepened Saturday over President Donald Trump’s demand for funds to build a border wall with Mexico.I wonder what will happen to Feds who scheduled vacations over the Christmas period. Will they just lose the vacation days to the confusion, or will they be restored?
With Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for the wall and negotiations with Democrats in Congress far from a breakthrough, even a temporary measure to keep the government running while talks continued seemed out of reach until the Senate returned for a full session Thursday.
From coast to coast, the first day of the shutdown played out in uneven ways. The Statue of Liberty was still open for tours, thanks to funding from New York state, and the U.S. Post Office was still delivering mail, as an independent agency.
In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was remaining open with state funding, the governor said. But visitors arriving at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico could check out only the surface, not the underground cavern that is the park’s main attraction. The memorial to Oklahoma City bombing victims was to continue to operate, but the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center at College Station, Texas, said its National Archives facilities were closed during the shutdown.
Yet the disruption affected many government operations and the routines of 800,000 federal employees. Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and were expected to work unpaid. An additional 380,000 were to be furloughed, meaning they will stay home without pay. The Senate had already passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay, and the House was likely to follow suit.
The people I am really sorry for are the government contractors, and the semi-federal workers of the Smithsonian Trust, who don't get their pay restored when the government shuts down, even though many of them would be able to keep working on money that has already been allocated. Ask me how I know.