USA government shutdown becomes longest in history

People look across Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House

"Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option - and I think we are nearly there - I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal", Mr Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

The New York Times said it was not clear if the investigation to determine whether Mr Trump was deliberately working for Russian Federation or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow was still being pursued.

The ongoing partial government shutdown entered its 22nd day on Saturday, breaking the record to become the longest government shutdown in USA history.

Congress says all affected federal workers will get back pay as soon as the shutdown is over, but that brings little assurance to those who have immediate expenses and little or no savings in case of an emergency. A majority - 53 percent - thought that Trump and Republican allies were more responsible, while 29 percent blamed Democrats. Party leaders say they won't agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier between the USA and Mexico beyond what's already in place, and Trump insists he won't agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded. "That's why I'm depressed".

Senator Chris Coons, called Mr Graham's idea to reopen the government a "great place to start".

"I do think if we reopen the government, if the president ends this shutdown crisis, we have folks who can negotiate a responsible, modern investment in technology that will actually make us safer", Coons said.

Congressional Democrats are engaged in a more than three-week battle with Senate Republicans and the White House over funding for a wall along the southern border. "There should be timely negotiations on border security after the government is open".

The senator added that Trump might be willing to reach an agreement that would include border wall funding and protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as for those receiving temporary protected status.

The impasse is over the $5.6bn needed for a wall on the border with Mexico that Trump promised on the campaign trail, saying Mexico would pay for it. Democrats who control the House are determined not to give it to him, whether or not - and most analysts say not - he is correct that savings from a new trade deal will mean Mexico pays after all.

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Democrats have been calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to allow a vote on a short-term bill that would open the government, giving the two sides more time for talks.

"I think there's misconceptions about what the wall is", Milstead said in Washington Friday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, travelling in Abu Dhabi, claimed that morale is good among U.S. diplomats even as many work without pay.

At least one major airport has had to temporarily shutter a concourse because of staffing issues related to the shutdown. But the Mexican government has refused and Trump is now demanding that Congress provide funding.

Some Republicans on Sunday called for Trump to continue negotiating with Democrats rather than seek to declare a national emergency.

"I'm in the White House, waiting".

The government shutdown is now the longest in American history, with no apparent end in sight.

"It's not about elitism, it's not about separatism, it's not about racism", Milstead said.

But Graham, who favors a presidential declaration, said the time for talk is running out.

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