The Latest: Trump, Pelosi flex muscle, shutdown goes on
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the partial government shutdown (all times local):
President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are both flexing their political powers as the negotiations to end the monthlong partial government shutdown remain stalled.
Trump issued a letter to Pelosi on Thursday, just before she and other lawmakers were set to depart on the previously undisclosed trip to Afghanistan and Brussels. Trump belittled the trip as a “public relations event” and said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen the government.
Pelosi called on Trump the day before to postpone his Jan. 29 State of the Union address due to the shutdown.
Denying military aircraft to a senior lawmaker is very rare, and lawmakers were caught off-guard.
President Donald Trump has canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.
It was the latest development in Thursday’s back-and-forth over whether lawmakers and Trump administration officials should travel during the partial government shutdown.
Earlier, Trump postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Afghanistan. That was in response to Pelosi asking Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation — set for Jan. 29 — until the government reopens.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has nixed his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.
The chairman of the House intelligence committee says that President Donald Trump’s decision to reveal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Brussels and Afghanistan is “completely and utterly irresponsible in every way.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he won’t comment on whether the trip is still on. Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he was denying Pelosi an aircraft to visit troops abroad and reassure NATO allies. That move came after Pelosi suggested delaying his State of the Union address.
Schiff says Trump is acting “like he’s in the fifth grade.” The California Democrat said that “we’re determined our oversight will continue no matter what the president’s action are.”
Schiff said the congressional delegations had anticipated defense and intelligence briefings in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the trip that President Donald Trump is canceling was intended to express appreciation to U.S. troops and reaffirm the United States “ironclad commitment” to the NATO alliance.
Trump wrote Pelosi on Thursday and said he was denying military aircraft for a trip to Egypt, Brussels and Afghanistan amid the government shutdown. The notice came after Pelosi attempted on Wednesday to delay Trump’s State of Union address.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted that the previously unannounced trip was to Afghanistan, including a stop in Brussels. He said it did not include a stop in Egypt.
Hammill said Pelosi was to meet with top NATO commanders and troops and “obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham says President Donald Trump’s decision to deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aircraft for her upcoming trip abroad is “inappropriate.”
The Republican and frequent Trump ally also criticized Pelosi for her attempt to delay Trump’s State of Union address amid their government shutdown clash. He called that “blatantly political.”
Graham said “one sophomoric response does not deserve another.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer criticized Trump’s decision, calling it “petty,” ″small” and “vindictive.” The Maryland Democrat said it was “unbecoming of the president of the United States.”
In turn, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Pelosi, asking why she would leave the country when the government is shut down.
McCarthy said to Pelosi: “You’re speaker of the house.”
The House has withdrawn passage of a bill to reopen shuttered portions of the government and will vote again on the measure next week.
The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill by voice vote on Thursday, but Republicans objected, saying they wanted a roll call tally.
Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, who was presiding at the time, said he did not hear any Republicans request a roll call vote.
After a flurry of objections from both sides, the House briefly adjourned while party leaders huddled. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland then requested that the vote be withdrawn, with a new vote scheduled for Wednesday.
The bill would reopen the government through Feb. 28, but appears doomed in the GOP-controlled Senate and faces a veto promise from President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump is postponing what he’s calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “seven-day excursion” to Egypt, Afghanistan and Brussels in apparent payback for asking him to reschedule his State of the Union speech because of the partial government shutdown.
Trump wrote a letter to Pelosi on Thursday informing her that her trip had been postponed and would be rescheduled after the shutdown.
He called Pelosi’s trip a “public relations event.”
He says she should stay in Washington to negotiate ways to end the shutdown, which is at a stalemate over federal funding for his desired border wall. Trump says that if she wants to make her trip by flying commercial that would “certainly be your prerogative.”
The State Department is telling all U.S. diplomats in Washington and at embassies abroad to return to work starting next week and that they will be paid despite the ongoing government shutdown.
In a notice to staff, the department said it had found money to pay its employees beginning Monday for the next two-week pay period. They will not be paid for time worked since the shutdown began until it ends, according to the notice, which was posted to the department’s website and sent to employees. It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it had taken steps to “make available additional funds to pay the salaries of its employees, including those affected by the current lapse.”
The department said it was taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming efforts “to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people.” It added that the department’s leadership was “deeply concerned” about the financial hardships its employees are facing.
The Democratic-led House has again passed a bill to reopen the shuttered portions of the government, but like its predecessors the measure appears doomed in the GOP-controlled Senate and faces a veto promise from President Donald Trump.
The House passed the measure by voice vote. Thursday’s bill would reopen the government through Feb. 28.
It’s the latest in a series of attempts to reopen the government, but Trump and his GOP allies refuse to go along without funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, insist on reopening the government before negotiating the budget for border security.
Democrats rejected a GOP attempt that would have restored back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who missed a paycheck last week while keeping the government closed going forward.
President Donald Trump says the Democratic Party has been “hijacked” by those opposed to his plan for a U.S.-Mexico border wall as he seeks to turn up pressure on his political rivals over an ongoing partial government shutdown.
Trump said at the Pentagon on Thursday the government remains shut down because congressional Democrats refuse to approve border security. He claims without evidence that Democrats in the House and the Senate are willing to negotiate with him to make a deal to reopen the government but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH’-see) “will not let them negotiate.”
Pelosi is refusing money for the wall, which she views as ineffective and immoral. Democrats have been largely unified in opposition to the wall, which Trump is insisting on funding as a condition of reopening the government.
Democrats say they’ll discuss border security once the government reopens.
The shutdown is the longest ever, entering its 27th day Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t saying what she’ll do if President Donald Trump insists on delivering a State of the Union address during the partial government shutdown.
The California Democrat said Thursday she’s received no response to her letter suggesting Trump postpone the address while thousands of federal workers are unpaid. Asked whether she’d allow the speech to go forward Jan. 29 if Trump insists on delivering it, Pelosi replied, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Pelosi says the federal employees required to secure the event in the House of Representatives should be paid for the work.
The U.S. Constitution says the president “shall from time to time” deliver a state of the union address to Congress.
The shutdown is the longest ever, entering its 27th day Thursday. Trump wants $5.7 billion to help fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall, which Democrats oppose.
The number of furloughed federal employees seeking unemployment benefits jumped in the first two weeks of the partial government shutdown and topped 10,000 during the week of Jan. 5.
The Labor Department says that’s double the number of federal workers who sought aid in the previous week. Typically, fewer than 1,000 former federal employees apply for jobless benefits each week.
The department says federal employees who aren’t working during the partial government shutdown are eligible to claim unemployment aid. But those who are working without pay are not.
Even those sent home will have to repay the unemployment aid if they get back pay once the shutdown ends.
The shutdown began Dec. 22 and is the longest ever, entering its 27th day Thursday.
Officials say the rate of airport screeners missing work during the partial government shutdown has stabilized just days before the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, which is likely to mean bigger airport crowds.
The Transportation Security Administration says 6.1 percent of its airport screeners missed work Wednesday. That compares with 5 percent on the same day last year. The sick-out rate was 7.7 percent on Sunday.
An agency official says screeners this week should have received $500 bonuses and, for some, an extra day’s pay, for working over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The government shutdown is taking a toll on a wildfire fight that hasn’t even started yet.
Wildfire training courses are being canceled, piles of dead trees are left untended in federal forests and controlled burns to thin fire-prone forests aren’t happening.
The winter months are critical for fire managers. They use it to prepare for the next onslaught of flames. But much of that work has ground to a halt on federal land because of job furloughs.
Wildfire managers are worried about hiring, training and forest management as the shutdown drags into a fourth week.
While the furloughs only affect federal employees, the collaborative nature of wildland firefighting means the pain of the shutdown is having a ripple effect.
President Donald Trump’s Republican allies say it’s a political ploy — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request that he postpone his planned State of the Union address, which is set for Jan. 29.
Pelosi says the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department are entangled in the shutdown and she’s suggesting in a letter to Trump that he should address Congress another time.
Neither Trump nor the White House has responded to the suggestion.
A top House Republican, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES’), tweets that Democrats are interested only in obstruction.
Trump could delay the address or deliver it in writing as was the norm before the 20th century.
The tradition for generations has called for a nationally broadcast address that provides the president a massive audience.