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By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Speaker Pelosi in Afghanistan on a prior visit.
January 20, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have ratcheted up the battle over the government shutdown.
Last week, Pelosi sent a letter to the President asking him to delay his State of the Union speech to Congress or submit it in writing. "Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29," Pelosi wrote.

Trump retaliated the next day, announcing he was cancelling the military transport for trip by Pelosi and a Congressional delegation to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” he said. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown.”

The President stated publicly that Pelosi’s group could fly commercial instead—but by revealing travel plans kept secret for security purposes, he forced the Congressional delegation to cancel its trip entirely since travel on commercial flights would put elected officials and troops at risk. The cancellation was made after the State Department warned the delegation that Trump’s letter “significantly increased danger” to lawmakers, other officials and troops.
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued this statement condemning Trump’s actions.
“For a president to cancel and leak the details of a Speaker’s trip to a war zone is beyond reckless. The importance of confidentiality until members and those accompanying safely returned from their mission is paramount. Not only did he and his staff endanger the Speaker and other members on the trip, but he also endangered our troops, security personnel, and the other travelers on our flights. It's appalling that the Commander in Chief who is supposed to protect the American people is the one putting us in danger.”
Trump blames Congressional Democrats for refusing to pass a budget with $5 billion in funds to build a border wall which he contends is needed for national security to prevent migrants, drug smugglers and traffickers from crossing illegally into the U.S.
Democrats counter that they were elected with a mandate, winning 40 seats in the House in November and polls indicate the majority of Democrats as well as most Americans overall oppose building a border wall. 
On Saturday, Trump announced he would extend protections against deportation for three years to young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if Democrats would fund the wall.  But Democrats remain unwilling to trade temporary protections for a permanent and costly border wall.
“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border,” Pelosi said in a statement, adding, “Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
The Speaker said Democrats would be willing to support “smart, effective border security solutions”  including:
  • Increased infrastructure investments at our ports of entry including additional ports and roads;
  • Advanced technology to scan for drugs, weapons and contraband where the vast majority of drugs come in to our country and advanced technology to detect unauthorized crossings;
  • More customs personnel including filling the more than 3,000 customs and border patrol vacancies; and
  • More immigration judges.


Next week, Democrats plan to pass a package of six bills agreed to by House and Senate negotiators, along with their legislation to re-open government and negotiate on border security proposals. Pelosi urged Trump to sign the measures and end the shutdown.
The shutdown, now a month old, is the longest in U.S. history. 
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed, from food inspectors to park rangers, and others are working without pay including Coast Guardsmen, FBI agents, border patrol officers, and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at airports.  Funds have run out for CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) and those with low-income housing subsidies are also in jeopardy.  Many national parks and museums remain closed. Locally the shutdown has halted controlled burns in Cleveland National Forest, raising the risk of wildfires if the burns cannot be completed soon.

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Overstatiing facts and sensationalism

Referenced comments "Retired seniors, disabled, veterans, emotional stress, millions etc." These are Federal employees that have not lost their jobs, their salaries, etc. but have had their pay put on hold while getting a bonus vacation. Tough it up folks, Government was established for "essential services" and that would be border security, Sovereignty, invasions from the south and a "Representative" government leadership that does not use party platform to keep it going.

Vacation? How callous. These people have bills to be paid --.

mortgages, rent, utilities, insurance, food, etc.  Some have CANCELLED vacations beause they have no money coming in nor any promise of when their next paycheck will arrive.

For every federal worker going without pay, there is a ripple effect. They are tightening their belts and not spending money on other services such as dry cleaning, house cleaning, gardening. They are postponing needed medical procedures, repairs, etc.

NPR had a story today on the dire situation at some rural Indian reservations where healthcare is completely without funds.  One tribe in Montana, where snow is too deep to drive, has no way  for ill people to get to any other hospital and their healthcare center has run out of money. Doctors are leaving because they are not being paid. At other reservations tribal leaders are going without pay to keep doctors temporarily but can't do that indefinitely.  Some are ratiioning -- no money for vaccinations or other preventive care, only emergency medical aid.  This is not a "vacation" without pay for Native Americans -- and our government is violating treaty agreements to provide for them.  I am quite sure they would rather have medical care than a wall on a border thousands of miles away. 

The lives of everyone who flies commercial airlines is being put at risk as more and more air traffic controllers and TSA agents are going without pay and some have quit. I am flying soon.  I would sure rather have safe skies than a wall.

Oh and today the Senate, which is Republican controlled, voted down two compromise measures, one of which was drafted entirely by Republicans. The Republican Party is the biggest culprit in this, being unable to even agree among its own members.


The Real Calamity

To me it’s the people that don’t care enough to participate and Vote! Thank’s to those people we all get what only they deserve!


Yes! I really like that idea, and it makes sense. If the politicians would just play nice (and be professional), we wouldn't be in this quandary.

Furloughed National Employee Blog:

A friend in the D.C. area and her husband are both furloughed due to the shutdown. she's started a blog sharing experiences of those who are furloughed, with some tips as well:  

You're right that a lot of people are suffering needlessly. 

My friend's idea to solve this (which she shared in a phone call today) is for Congress to pass a law saying anytime Congress fails to pass a budget by deadline, the budget will automatically renew at the prior year's funding levels to assure continuation of services until whenever Congress decides to make changes to the budget. But not funding anything would no longer be an option. I wholeheartedly would support that.


Human lives at risk! :-(

These elected officials are putting millions of people's very existence in a nasty predicament. Retired seniors, the disabled, veterans, children and many more. It's time to get this stalemate resolved once and for all. Maybe they would understand what it's like if they had to experience what millions of people are experiencing right now: emotional stress, facing eviction (homelessness), going hungry, loss of medical needs... need I go on? There is a major crisis brewing in the U.S. and the economic impact is going to be huge! It's way past the time for everyone to play nice, act like adults, and settle this issue. I will remember those who have caused this calamity when it comes time for voting...