Since Dec. 22, nine federal agencies have been forced to close because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Affected are the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice. The previous longest shutdown, which occurred during the administration of President Bill Clinton, lasted 21 days, ending on Jan. 6, 1996.
President Trump and Congress are at an impasse over the president’s request for a $5.7 billion appropriation to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The most-recent spending bill passed by the Senate did not include money for the wall, and the president refused to sign it. He already had signed bills to fund about 75 percent of government operations, but not the 25 percent of the budget that would pay for the nine affected agencies.
About 800,000 federal workers have gone without their regular paychecks since the shutdown began, with more than 400,000 “essential” employees required to work without pay. More than 40,000 federal employees work in the Philadelphia region, which has one of the highest concentrations of federal workers outside Washington.
Ordinarily, Friday would be payday.
A variety of agencies, institutions, groups, and individuals have offered assistance to furloughed workers ranging from financial help to sandwiches.
Philadelphia labor-union members plan to rally at Philadelphia International Airport on behalf of TSA workers.
Independence National Historical Park, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, is closed. (The Independence Visitors Center is open, since it’s not a federal facility, but has shortened hours and the National Park desk will not be staffed.)
Valley Forge National Park is open, but all park buildings and restrooms are closed, and no educational programs are being conducted.
Immigration Court in Philadelphia is accepting only emergency filings for people who are already in detention.
The African American Museum, the Museum of the American Revolution, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the National Constitution Center, and Carpenters — all in the vicinity of Independence Park — are among the privately operated institutions that remain open.
Government functions considered “essential,” including law enforcement entities, such as the FBI, airport security, Customs, and military and government-run hospitals are operating. Mail is being delivered.
Presumably, but not soon.
The Senate turned down two bills on Thursday that could have ended the stalemate. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) later said he spoke with Trump and that the president would consider a resolution to reopen government temporarily. But his press secretary said it “would only work if there is a large down payment on the wall.”