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United States federal government shutdown of 2018–2019

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The second[a] shutdown of the United States federal government in 2018—which has continued into January 2019—began at midnight EST on Saturday, December 22nd. It occurred when the United States Congress and President Donald Trump could not agree on an appropriations bill to fund the operations of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year, or a temporary continuing resolution that would extend the deadline for passing a bill. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal departments or agencies from conducting non-essential operations without appropriations legislation in place. As a result, nine executive departments with around 800,000 employees had to shut down partially or in full, affecting about one-fourth of government activities.[1] This is the longest U.S. government shutdown in which federal workers have been furloughed.

The shutdown stemmed from an impasse over Trump's demand for $5.6 billion in federal funds for a U.S.–Mexico border wall.[2][3][4] In December 2018, the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously passed an appropriations bill without wall funding, and the bill appeared likely to be approved by the House of Representatives and Trump. However, after Trump faced heavy criticism from key supporters for appearing to back down on his campaign promise to "build the wall", he announced that he would not sign any appropriations bill that did not fund it. The House instead passed a bill with funding for a wall, even though it did not have enough support to pass the Senate and so was not considered further.[5]

In January 2019, the House—now controlled by a Democratic majority—voted to approve the appropriations bill without wall funding that had previously passed the Senate. However, Trump has continued to maintain that he will veto any bill that does not fund the wall, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked the Senate from considering any appropriations legislation that Trump will not support, including the bill he previously allowed to pass unanimously.[6][7]

As of January 16, 2019 EST, the shutdown is in its 26th day and has surpassed the 21-day shutdown of 1995–1996 to become the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.[8]


During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to build a "wall” across the U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico would pay for entirely.[12] Mexico rejected the idea of providing any funding for a U.S. border wall. In 2018, Trump requested $18 billion in federal funding for some 700 miles of barrier on the border, mostly to replace 654 miles of aging fence built under the Secure Fence Act of 2006. On December 25, 2018, Trump reversed course, suggesting that he might accept 500 to 550 miles of either mostly refurbished barrier (rather than new barriers in locations that did not previously have them) by November 2020.[13] Trump's proposals and public statements on the wall have shifted widely over time, with varied proposals as to the design, material, length, height, and width of a wall.[14]

In September 2018, Congress passed two "minibus" appropriations bills for the fiscal year 2019 federal budget, which began on October 1, 2018. These bills combined five of the 12 regular appropriations bills covering 77% of federal discretionary funding, and included a continuing resolution until December 7 for the remaining agencies.[15] On December 6, Congress passed a second continuing resolution to December 21, to give more time for negotiations on Trump's proposed border wall, which had been delayed due to the death and state funeral of George H. W. Bush.[16]

A Senate Homeland Security appropriations bill, negotiated by both parties and was reported by the committee to the Senate, provided for $1.6 billion for border security, including funds for "approximately 65 miles of pedestrian fencing along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector".[17] The bill did not receive a vote on the Senate floor, although House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer indicated that such a proposal could be acceptable to House Democrats.[17] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) says the Democratic Party will not support $5.7 billion for the border wall. At a press conference before the government shutdown, he notes “The $1.6 billion for border security negotiated by Democrats and Republicans is our position. We believe that is the right way to go. …” [18]

Beginning of shutdown

Donald Trump meets with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on December 11, 2018, stating "I will be the one to shut it down."
Department of State press briefing with Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino on December 18, 2018 about the effects of a possible of a shutdown on government functions.
Muir Beach Overlook (San Francisco), closed for the shutdown in December 2018

On December 11, Trump held a televised meeting with Speaker-designee Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in which he asked them to support $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. They refused Trump's demands and an argument followed in which Trump said: "I am proud to shut down the government for border security ... I will be the one to shut [the government] down. I'm not going to blame you for it ... I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down." Schumer replied, "We shouldn't shut down the government over a dispute."[19]

Three days later, Politico reported that Trump was willing to sign a bill with no funding for a border wall that delayed a government shutdown into 2019 and the new Congress.[20] On December 18, following a meeting with Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the government would not shut down on December 22 and that Trump was "flexible" over funding for a border wall. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby commented that the most likely resolution was a bill that funded the government until early February. Schumer added that his caucus would "very seriously" consider such a bill and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said "I don't know anybody on the Hill that wants a shutdown, and I think all the president's advisers are telling him this would not be good."[21]

The next day, the Senate unanimously passed a second continuing resolution (H.R. 695) lasting until February 8, 2019. Pelosi announced that House Democrats would support such a measure, meaning it would pass the House even in the wake of opposition from conservative Republicans.[22] However, on December 20, following increasing criticism from conservative media, pundits, and political figures,[23][24] Trump reversed his position and declared that he would not sign any funding bill that did not include border wall funding. The House then passed a version of the continuing resolution later that day that added $5 billion for the wall and $8 billion in disaster aid.[5] Negotiations in the Senate did not lead to agreement on passage of a continuing resolution that day.[25] Trump's changing position caused consternation among Senate Republicans. When asked by reporters what the way forward was, retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker laughed: "I don't know. Y'all have fun. I'm getting ready to drive to Chattanooga... You can’t make this stuff up."[23][26]

The shutdown started December 22[25] and Trump announced that he would cancel his planned trip to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas and stay in Washington, D.C.[27] The meaning of the term "wall" was expected to be an aspect of the negotiations.[28]



115th Congress

Trump meets with Congressional leadership in the White House Situation Room on January 2, 2019

Congress adjourned on December 22 for the Christmas and holiday season, with many predicting that the shutdown would not be resolved until the start of the 116th Congress.[29] The Senate reconvened on December 27 for four minutes, with Republican Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) presiding over the session. The House briefly reconvened as well, with Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) saying that members should not expect any further votes for the rest of 2018. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) went to the House floor to try to force consideration of a short-term funding bill to end the shutdown that the Senate had already passed, but Speaker Paul Ryan refused to let him speak.[30]

Congress then adjourned again until December 31, 2018 for a pro forma session.[31] On January 2, 2019, the last full day of the 115th United States Congress, there was a pro forma session scheduled to last several minutes.

116th Congress

The new Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2019, and the first order of business in the House after swearing in the new members and electing the Speaker was a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 (H.J.Res. 1), which passed by a vote of 239–192; and a package combining five appropriation bills funding the rest of the government for the remainder of the fiscal year (H.R. 21),[32] passed by a vote of 241–190. The bills contained $1.3 billion of funding for border security, but no additional funding for a border wall.[33]

Beginning on January 9, the Democratic-controlled House voted on four appropriations bills individually:

This strategy has been compared to one used by Republicans during the 2013 shutdown in the form of a series of fourteen mini-continuing resolutions.[40][41]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that the Senate would not consider the House bills to reopen the government, indicating that Senate Republicans would not support any bill unless it had Trump's support.[34][35][38][42][43][44][45] In January 2019, McConnell and Senate Republicans came under increasing pressure to break the impasse and reopen the government.[46][47] Three Republican Senators— Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Cory Gardner of Colorado—called for an end to the shutdown, and Collins and Gardner said they supported the House's budget bills to end the shutdown.[44][48] Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said that she could support ending the shutdown if talks were to continue about a border wall.[48] Pat Roberts of Kansas said that shutdowns "never work" and only turned affected federal workers into "pawns" and that, although the time had not yet come for Senate Republicans to override any possible Trump veto and end the shutdown, "we're getting pretty close".[48]


On January 4, after the new Congress was sworn-in and Pelosi regained the speakership, she and Schumer, as well as congressional Republican leadership met with Trump at the White House.[44][49] Pelosi and Schumer argued that the shutdown needed to end and reported that Trump refused. They said that Trump threatened to "keep the government closed for a very long period of time. Months or even years."[44] On January 4, Trump admitted to "absolutely" making that threat, adding "I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing."[44] Trump then said that he was considering declaring a state of emergency to use military funding for the wall.[50][51] At the meeting, Trump reprimanded his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for attempting to propose a compromise between Trump's $5.7 billion demand for a border wall and the Democrats' proposal of $1.3 billion for border security, using an expletive.[49]

Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. EST on January 8, in a nationally televised address broadcast on both network and cable television.[52][53] In his speech, Trump asserted that there was a "growing humanitarian and security crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border that could only be solved by appropriating $5.7 billion for construction of a steel wall.[54] Trump did not make any new proposals in his speech to break the impasse.[54] Immediately after Trump's speech, Schumer and Pelosi delivered a response on behalf of the Democrats, in which they demanded an end to the shutdown and said: "President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government."[54]

Trump met with congressional leadership again on January 9, in a meeting lasting 14 minutes.[55] Trump asked Pelosi, "Will you agree to my wall?" and when she replied that she would not, Trump said "bye-bye" and walked out of the meeting, later declaring it "a total waste of time".[55] Schumer accused Trump of throwing a "temper tantrum" and slamming his hands on the table.[56] Trump rebuked Schumer's comments on Twitter.[57] Vice President Pence and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Trump remained calm and never raised his voice.[58] On January 10, Pelosi described the preceding day's meeting with Trump as "a setup" staged by White House aides so that Trump could walk out of the meeting. Pelosi described Trump as "un-presidential"; accused him of "exploiting this situation in a way that enhances his power"; and said: "I don't think he really wants a solution. I think he loves the distraction."[59]

Since Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional Democratic leaders on January 9, no further negotiation sessions have been scheduled between Trump and Democratic leaders.[60] On January 13, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally, proposed that Trump agree to a congressional vote to reopen the government pending the resumption of negotiations. Graham suggested that if Trump and congressional Democrats did not come to an agreement at that time, Trump could declare a national emergency. Trump rejected this proposal the next day.[49]

Trump's threat to declare national emergency

Both the population of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. and southwestern border apprehensions have declined significantly over the past decade.[61][62]

During the shutdown, Trump repeatedly threatened to declare a national emergency to unilaterally order wall construction without congressional authorization.[63][64] On January 8 in a press conference, a reporter asked Trump if he was considering declaring a national emergency, to which Trump replied, "I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want" and suggested that he could declare an emergency.[65] Some of Trump's advisors, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, have reportedly attempted to dissuade him from doing so.[64] Administration officials considered diverting hurricane-relief and wildfire-relief funds from a $13.9 billion February 2018 emergency supplemental appropriations bill (for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California, and other places) in order to fund a wall, directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look into this possibility.[64][66][67]

An attempt by Trump to invoke emergency powers would almost certainly prompt a lengthy legal challenge in court.[63] Democrats responded that Trump lacked the authority to declare a national emergency; Representative Adam Schiff called it a "non-starter" and said that "if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border."[68] Democratic Representative Nydia Velázquez said the notion of redirecting disaster-relief funds to a border wall was "beyond appalling".[67] Presidents have declared emergencies in the past, but none has "involved funding a policy goal after failing to win congressional approval".[63] Yale Law School professor Bruce Ackerman wrote that the declaration of a national emergency to build a wall as Trump suggested would be unconstitutional and illegal.[69] Other scholars, such as Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice, believe that Trump could make a colorable argument that diverting military-construction appropriations for border-wall construction is legal, but that doing so would be an abuse of power.[63]

President Trump states on January 14, 2019 "I'm not looking to call a national emergency , this is so simple you shouldn't have to. Now, I have the absolute legal right to call it but I'm not looking to do that cause this is too simple."

On January 11, Trump—while still maintaining he has the authority to do so anytime—said he was not in any rush to declare a national emergency to secure wall funding, saying he'd rather see Congress "do its job" and that the Democrats "should come back and vote".[70] However, the next day he again threatened to use emergency powers if Democrats do not "come to their senses".[71]


Agencies funded by the two minibus bills are not affected by the shutdown.[25] Initial effects were lessened because the beginning of the shutdown coincided with a four-day weekend due to Christmas. For normal work days, about 400,000 federal employees were expected to be furloughed out of the 800,000 working for the affected agencies, out of 2.1 million civilian non-postal federal employees.[72] As only about a quarter of the government is shutdown, many who are not federal employees do not fully realize the effects of the shutdown.[73]

On federal employees

A sample letter provided by the Office of Personnel Management[74]

Job types affected include staff throughout the United States, not just DC area employees. Federal corrections officers, FDA food inspectors, NASA employees, TSA staff, Border Patrol staff, census staff, National Park Service staff, members of the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers are either working without pay or furloughed (ordered to stay home). In cases where the employee is contract staff, they are not expected to be able to recover the lost pay. It is unknown if those non-essential salaried staff ordered to stay home will receive any compensation. Vice President Mike Pence has stated that Trump would sign legislation that was passed in Congress and is to provide back pay to the federal workers after the end of the shutdown,[75] however it is still to be seen whether it includes salaried staff who were not allowed to work or contract staff.

On January 11, 800,000 workers for agencies shutdown or furloughed missed their first paycheck since the shutdown began. [76] Federal workers normally receive pay on federal holidays, which include Christmas, New Years Day and potentially Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The shutdown has affected the employees' entitlement to paid holidays due to the shutdown.[77] Unemployment assistance to federal workers furloughed under the government shutdown varies by locality. Only non-reporting workers are eligible for assistance, whereas furloughed workers who still report to work without pay are not. If the government shutdown ends with retroactive pay, the unemployment assistance will be required to be paid back.[78] Furloughed workers are allowed to find other jobs while they are idled. Additionally, federal employees are not able to use PTO during a shutdown so scheduled holiday vacation time either became unpaid if the worker was deemed non-essential or had to be cancelled for the worker to return to work if the worker was deemed essential. In many cases the PTO expires at year end so it is not able to be rescheduled.

After furloughed federal workers and their families began sharing stories of their hardships over Christmas, such as not being able to meet rent or mortgage payments and missed bills, the hashtag "#ShutdownStories" went viral on social media.[79][80] The federal government's Office of Personnel Management responded by publishing sample letters that employees could send to their creditors. One read, in part, "I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency. Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my mortgage, along with my other

Furlough Tip Sheet Provided by the United States Coast Guard

expenses." Other federal workers are reaching out to other news outlets to share their stories about having to stretch their budgets and how the shutdown has impacted their families.[81] In addition to being unable to meet rent or pay bills, many federal workers around the country have been unable to pay for groceries and have had to turn to food banks.[82]

The OPM also suggested that employees who had landlords write: "I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments" and that those who lacked funds to pay bills should hire personal attorneys to assist them.[83][84] Other organizations also posted advice on how to "find supplemental income"; the United States Coast Guard suggesting that Coast Guard members "have a garage sale, offer to watch children, walk pets or house sit" while furloughed.[85]

On January 4, The Washington Post reported that because the shutdown was triggered by the failure to enact spending bills that continued a federal government pay freeze, hundreds of senior Trump administration political appointees would receive a roughly $10,000 pay raise the following day. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the pending pay raise was an "unnecessary byproduct of the shutdown."[86]

On January 10, the Senate approved by unanimous consent a bill (S.24, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019) providing that furloughed federal employees would receive back pay for the period of the furlough once appropriations were restored; the bill was approved the next day by the House on a vote of 411-7.[87][88]

Economic impact

An analysis from S&P released on January 11 reported that the shutdown has cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion.[89] The furloughing of 145,000 federal workers and 112,500 federal contractors in the Washington Metropolitan Area has had a major detrimental effect on the economy of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The shutdown has cost the regional economy $119 million each day, or 7.3 percent of the region's total output.[90] That gives a total hit to GDP of $2.8 billion and counting just in the Washington DC area alone, equivalent to about half of what the Trump administration is requesting for the wall ($5.7 billion).[90] The shutdown has also had a noticeable impact on hunger in the national capital region: food pantries in Washington DC and Northern Virginia have reported an increase of around 10 percent in the number of people coming to pick up groceries and pet food, with most of that increase coming from federal workers and contractors.[91]

Food Stamps and food inspections

USDA's website during the shutdown as of January 13 2019

During the shutdown, 95% of federal staff for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services were furloughed.[92] The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food-stamp program, can be funded through a $3 billion contingency fund appropriated by Congress in 2018; however, if the shutdown continues through March 2019, those funds will be exhausted, leaving some 38 million Americans without food stamps and endangering food security.[92][93] Continuation of the shutdown may also delay the issuance of some $140 billion in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).[92]

The Food and Drug Administration oversees most of the food supply in the United States. In early January, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, reported that the FDA has suspended food inspections. He did note that inspection of foreign food is continuing as "almost normal," because they are considered vital.[94]

Meat and some egg products are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Federal legislation requires these inspectors to remain working without pay.[94]

National parks and capital museums

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge under shutdown on January 3, 2019

As with the January 2018 shutdown, national parks were expected to be open as practical, though there would be no staff and buildings would be closed. The shutdown affected national parks unevenly, some still accessible with bare-bones staffing levels, some operating with money from states or charitable groups and others locked off. Diane Regas, president and chief executive of the Trust for Public Land, called upon Trump to close all national parks to protect the public: by the third week of the shutdown, three people had died in the national parks.[95] This number was reported as being within 'usual' levels.[96] By January 1, 2019, the problems of neglected trash pileup, overflowing public toilets, and access to first aid were repeated across the Park system.[97] At Yosemite National Park, on January 4, 2019, a death from a fall went unreported for a week.[98][99][97]

New York State kept the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open,[100] as it did during the January 2018 shutdown.[101] Arizona and Utah were able to keep open Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park and provide services such as public restrooms, shuttles and trash collection. Utah’s funding included visitor centers. The sites closed outright in the southwest alone, included Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico, White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico, Petrified Forest National Park in northern Arizona and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in south-central Arizona.[102] Access to major parts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks were closed,[103] and at Joshua Tree National Park, the administration policy of leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs is resulting in park damage,[104] including the toppling of protected trees during the shutdown.[105] In Texas, Big Bend National Park had no visitor services, such as restrooms. Some trailheads were closed. Regulations continued to be enforced, as the park remained open. Visitors were reminded to remove their own trash and toilet paper.[106][97] The Alamo remained open but no NPS services were available at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.[107] Channel Islands National Park remains open to public access, although services normally provided by the national park service are instead provided by Island Packers Cruises, the company normally in charge of ferries to the islands.[108]

National Archives and Records Administration website shutdown message as of January 14, 2019

The National Archives and Records Administration closed immediately on December 22, 2018.[109] The Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Visitor Center, and the U.S. Capitol Building remained open due to being funded by the 2019 Legislative Branch appropriations bill.[109] The Smithsonian Institution operated on "prior-year funds" through January 1, 2019. On January 2, 2019, the Smithsonian Institution initiated an orderly shutdown of all its facilities, including 19 museums in Washington, D.C., and New York City, the National Zoo, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.[110][72] The following day, the National Gallery of Art was closed.[111] Tourism attendance on the National Mall was affected.[112] On January 5th, 2019, acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt directed the diversion of fee revenue defined by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to be used to fund minimal maintenance activities as to preserve access to highly-visited parks.[113]

Airspace and aviation workers

The air traffic controllers in the US are currently federal employees and affected by this government shutdown. As the air traffic controllers were deemed essential employees, they were required to work without pay. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union that represent air traffic controllers, filed a lawsuit against the federal government for the shutdown on January 11, 2019,[114] claiming that requiring 16,000 air traffic controllers to work without being paid violates their constitutional rights and federal minimum wage law.[115] This is the third lawsuit filed against the federal government since the beginning of the shutdown.

Airline and aircraft safety inspectors, on the other hand, had been deemed nonessential and furloughed since the beginning of the government shutdown. A recent news report on January 12, 2019 stated that the Federal Aviation Administration had already returned 500 furloughed safety inspectors back to work and would return more to work in the following weeks.[116]

Other agencies

During the shutdown, the federal government's e-Verify system—a system for employers to check the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States—was halted.[117][118] Official websites for agencies, have been rendered insecure or inaccessible through the shutdown, as the digital certificates expire and are not renewed.[119]

Executive and legislative affairs of the local government in the District of Columbia continued operating through the shutdown, due to a provision previously enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.[10] However, the District's local court system, including the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are part of the federal judiciary and were partially shut down, preventing District residents from accessing services such as marriage licensing.[11] The District of Columbia government said it would take over trash collection and snow plowing operations for National Park Service facilities in Washington.[120] The National Zoo closed on January 3, 2019.[112]

NTSB site shut down message

The shutdown initially prevented the National Transportation Safety Board from assisting the Mexican government's investigation of the 2018 Puebla helicopter crash that killed a state governor and senator, however, an exception allowed the NTSB to assist with the Mexican government in the investigation along with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.[121][122] The NTSB also has to delay several investigations until the government reopens and is only continuing investigations into accidents that are considered the most serious.[123] The shutdown also interfered with the response to the 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami as the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta's Twitter account was unable to tweet updates, and the United States Geological Survey was unable to provide data on the tsunami.[124] The American weather model, the GFS suffered a significant drop in forecast quality when a data format change during the shutdown prevented certain weather data from being recognized by the GFS, and the shutdown prevented the bug from being corrected.

Public notice from the FCC published on January 2, 2019 regarding effects of shutdown on FCC operations

By mid-day Thursday January 3, 2019, the FCC had suspended operations and the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had canceled his trip to the Consumer Electronics Show.[125] The FTC also suspended certain online operations.[126] The EPA and Department of Energy's Energy Star website was not available for the duration of the shutdown.[127]

According to a January 12, 2019 article in The Economist, on January 11, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was unable to pay its workers who had not been paid since December 22; 55% more of them called in sick than in January 2018.[128]

The Federal Judiciary has a goal of sustaining paid operations through January 18, 2019.[129] Failing funding, the Judiciary will operate under the terms of the Antideficiency Act.[129] This Act does not allow federal agencies to expend federal funds before an appropriation, and or to accept any voluntary services.[130]


Protests and lawsuits

American Federation of Government Employees protest on January 10, 2019 in Washington D.C.
Union members rally in McAllen, Texas, on January 11, 2019
Union members protest in Dallas on January 10, 2019

On January 10, the American Federation of Government Employees, along with several other unions, announced plans to protest the government shutdown at 1:00pm EST in Washington, DC. Leaders of the National Federation of Federal Employees stated they had hoped that bringing federal workers to the President's doorstep would show him that it was the individual workers that the shutdown was hurting the most. However, President Trump had left to visit the US-Mexican border in Texas earlier in the day.[131]

Similar protests have taken place in the cities of Philadelphia and St. Louis, among others.[132]

Shortly after the protests, the American Federation of Government Employees sued the Trump administration to challenge the arrangements for work without pay during the shutdown. A similar suit was raised and won during the 2013 Federal Government shutdown.[133] The Air Traffic Controllers Association have also sued the Trump administration, as the shutdown is allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, by failing to pay the workers at least a minimum wage during the shutdown.[134]

Members of Congress donating or refusing salary

As the salaries for members of Congress are written into permanent law and not funded through annual appropriations, the government shutdown does not affect their salaries. Thus the Senators and Representatives will still be paid their biweekly salaries of $6,700 towards at least $174,000 USD a year.[135]

Several Democratic Senators and Representatives said they would donate their salary during the shutdown. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto indicated she would donate hers to a Nevada charity,[136] Senator Mazie Hirono would donate her salary to Hawaii food banks,[137] Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said she would give hers to refugee non-profit HIAS,[137] New York Congressman Max Rose stated that he would give his salary to charity[138] and outgoing Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota pledged hers to charity, along with her Republican colleague John Hoeven.[139] However, Republican senator Kevin Cramer, who defeated Heidi Heitkamp in the 2018 midterm elections, refused to donate his salary, calling the move "gimmicky".[139]

As of January 10, 2019, 71 members of Congress: 13 Senators and 58 Representatives, have asked House Chief Administrator Phil Kiko to withhold their pay, or have announced that they plan to donate it to various charities or causes.[140][141]

Public opinion

In January 2019, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS found that over 56% of the responding public oppose a wall while 39% favor it and 45% view the situation at the border a crisis. The numbers are reportedly extremely similar to the poll in December 2018 yet a later poll by ABC news showed that as the partial shutdown entered its fourth week support for building a wall was increasing.[142][143] A poll done through YouGov between December 23–25, 2018 reported that 51% of respondents thought Trump deserved "a lot" of the blame, 44% thought congressional Democrats and 39% thought congressional Republicans.[144] Similar results were reported by a December 21–25 survey done by Reuters/Ipsos in which 47% of respondents said that the shutdown was the President's fault and 33% blamed Congressional Democrats.[144]

On December 27, 2018, it was reported that Trump's approval rating of registered voters was at 39%, with 56% disapproval. However, broken down the rating was split across party lines, with Republicans reporting an 80% approval rate while Democrats and independents reported a 90% and 57% disapproval rating, respectively.[145] The poll was conducted through Morning Consult between December 21–23. The poll also reported that 43% of respondents blamed Trump for the shutdown, with 31% blaming congressional Democrats and 7% congressional Republicans.[144] Another poll through The New York Times Upshot/Siena College reported that 89% of voters' views on Trump and the wall were aligned, suggesting that support for the wall was simply a function of support for Trump.[146]

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published on January 13, 2019 found that a larger number of Americans blame Trump and congressional Republicans than Congressional Democrats for the shutdown.[147] A PBS Newshour and Marist poll found that on January 15, 2019 a majority of Americans thought that President Trump was to blame for the shutdown[148]

See also


  1. ^ Not including the February 2018 funding lapse related to the January 2018 shutdown.


  1. ^ Wamsley, Laurel (January 9, 2019). "How Is The Shutdown Affecting America? Let Us Count The Ways". NPR.
  2. ^ Julie Hirschfeld Davis & Michael Tackett (January 2, 2019). "Trump and Democrats Dig In After Talks to Reopen Government Go Nowhere". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Damian Paletta & Erica Werner (January 2, 2019). "Trump falsely claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money for wall in meeting with Democrats". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  4. ^ Liptak, Kevin (January 4, 2019). "Trump says he could keep shutdown going for months or years". CNN. Archived from the original on January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Ferris, Sarah; Bresnahan, John. "House and Senate on collision course as shutdown nears". POLITICO. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Erica Werner, Damian Paletta & Seung Min Kim, House Democrats vote to reopen government and deny Trump wall money, defying veto threat, Washington Post (January 3, 2019).
  7. ^ Clare Foran & Ted Barrett, Mitch McConnell blocks Senate Democrats' move to reopen government, CNN (January 10, 2019).
  8. ^ Gates, Guilbert (January 9, 2019). "This Government Shutdown Is One of the Longest Ever". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "FY 2019 HHS Contingency Staffing Plan for Operations". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources. September 25, 2018. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Connolly, Griffin (January 19, 2018). "D.C. Stays Open This Time Around — Even If Federal Government Shuts Down". Roll Call. Archived from the original on January 19, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
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