The shutdown is the fourth longest in U.S. history, and the inauguration of the 116th Congress last week marks the first time ever that a federal shutdown will extend into two different Congresses. Last week, House Democrats passed a package that would fully reopen the parts of the federal government affected by the shutdown.
“On Day One of the new Congress, the House passed bipartisan legislation that honors our responsibility to protect the American people with funding for smart, effective border security solutions — just not the President’s wasteful and ineffective wall,” Schumer and Pelosi added in their statement.
The president’s response to the shutdown has been widely criticized. He’s claimed since the shutdown, which kicked off last month after he declined to sign a stopgap funding bill because he disagreed with the decision of Congress not to provide the funding he’d requested for his proposed border wall, is a ploy orchestrated by Democrats.
Yesterday, the president sparked controversy after he claimed he “can relate” to federal workers going without their paychecks as a result of the government shutdown.
“I can relate,” the president told a reporter who asked him whether he can “relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills.” He added: “And I’m sure that the people that are toward the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do. And they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
My question to the president, “Can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills?” Pres. Trump:”I can relate…”. Watch: pic.twitter.com/WJCBHZQ15x
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) January 6, 2019
The president has said that federal workers agree with his decision to shut down the government over border security, but that claim has been dismissed more than once.
Jacqueline Simon, policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, says she hasn’t spoken with anyone who says they agree with the shutdown.
“Certainly, no one has called me to say that and my phone never stops ringing,” she told Politico. “They’re terrified.”