The Trump administration continues to fight for $5 billion in border security and barrier funding from Congress during a government shutdown they are trying to make as “painless as possible.”
A senior administration official briefed reporters during a Saturday afternoon call that specified the goal of “$5B for border security and physical barriers” in the congressional spending bill.
The official told Breitbart News they were “not here to articulate what the president will or not do” when asked if President Trump would veto a bill that did not include the $5 billion in border security and barrier funding.
“No one is not going to get paid for the work they’ve already performed,” the official made clear. Any federal employee carrying out accepted activities will get paid when a funding agreement is reached. The total number of furloughed employees was “fluid,” according to the administration official. The official referenced prior shutdowns and a congressional practice of issuing back pay for federal government employees both working and furloughed during shutdowns.
“We’re trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible,” the official said. Echoing a message from President Donald Trump, the official said the administration is trying to work with Senate Democrats to get border security funded in a bill to fund the government.
The partial government shutdown that began after midnight Friday only affects a portion of government activities, as the majority remains funded. All food safety under the USDA continues under the shutdown and preparations for the 2020 census continue, as well as national weather service activities. Border security activities continue under the shutdown including detention activities and work on any border barriers.
The Transportations Security Administration (TSA) is exempt from the shutdown, likely an item high in the minds of any Christmas season travelers. The U.S. Post Office will continue to deliver mail. Wildfires will still be fought and public housing authorities will still make payments, including activities under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Parks and monuments are to remain open during the partial government shutdown, but some day-to-day activities may be affected, according to the senior administration official.
Federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice will continue, and passport operations will continue through the shutdown. The Smithsonian will remain open at least through the end of the month as they currently have the funds to do so, the official specified.
As of Friday evening, the U.S. Senate adjourned until December 27, the Thursday after Christmas.