When will the US have a working government again?
By Joe Harker
US president Donald Trump has claimed the government shutdown could last "for a long time", insisting that he will not allow things to proceed until he gets his border wall money.
The shutdown was caused by a failure to agree on a bill that included no funding for Trump's border wall project. Without the $5 billion in funding Trump wanted being approved on a bill, the president decided to shut down the government in retaliation.
Since the midterm elections in November the Democrats have held a majority in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber in Congress. The Republicans hold the Senate, the higher chamber, but they cannot pass laws as they like and the president is learning that he cannot have things all his way.
Nancy Pelosi, Democrat politician and the speaker of the house, said her party would "give nothing for the wall". Many senior Democrats have also stated that the party will not approve funding for the president's wall, Trump's insistence that a bill with funding be passed has caused the government shutdown.
Trump called his fight to get funding for the wall "a very important battle to win", saying the government shutdown would continue as the wall was an issue of national security. He also suggested he was considering declaring a state of national emergency allowing him to approve funding for the wall without the approval of the government.
This would be a risky move for the president. If it is believed the president has abused emergency powers then the House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, can formally charge the president with exploiting the powers of his office. A decision on the matter would be put to the senate, currently controlled by the Republicans.
The president has said he can relate to the 800,000 workers either on a leave of absence or working without pay because of the government shutdown. He also insisted that a majority of them and the country at large completely agreed with his plan to build a border wall and keep the government shut until he gets money for it.
With the Trump administration unwilling to compromise on the wall, adopting a "no wall no deal" approach, and the Democrats determined not to give the "immoral" project a cent of government funding it seems that the stalemate will continue. Meanwhile, 800,000 workers aren't getting paid and the most powerful nation in the world is politically paralyzed. All because the president really wants a massively impractical wall.