With hundreds of thousands of federal workers set to face another federal pay period without paychecks, President Trump thanked the “great patriots” for their service and dedication — 30 days into the partial government shutdown.
Trump tweeted Sunday night: “To all of the great people who are working so hard for your Country and not getting paid I say, THANK YOU – YOU ARE GREAT PATRIOTS! We must now work together, after decades of abuse, to finally fix the Humanitarian, Criminal & Drug Crisis at our Border. WE WILL WIN BIG!”
Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are among the estimated 460,000 federal employees who have been working without pay. The agency has been experiencing far higher than usual unscheduled absences during the shutdown — and now the agency said staffers have been calling out of work because they can’t afford to get there.
According to a Sunday release, “many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations.”
Indeed, the agency said that, on Saturday, 8 percent of employees skipped work compared to 3 percent a year ago.
The disruption has forced screening area closures at some airports, including at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where “Checkpoint A” was closed Saturday.
Still, TSA reports that, on Saturday, 99.9 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 93.8 percent waited less than 15 minutes.
Democrats and Republicans appeared no closer to ending the impasse Sunday than when it began, with Trump lashing out at his opponents after they dismissed a plan he’d billed as a compromise.
Trump had offered the previous day to temporarily extend protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall. But Democrats said the three-year proposal didn’t go nearly far enough.
The criticism from both sides underscored Trump’s boxed in-position as he tries to win at least some Democratic buy-in without alienating his base.
Democrats say there’s little chance the measure will reach the 60-vote threshold usually required to advance legislation in the Senate. Republicans have a 53-47 majority, which means they need at least some Democrats to vote in favor.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to bring up legislation this week based on the proposal Trump outlined Saturday. It’s also unclear how McConnell will bring Trump’s plan forward — or when voting will begin. The Republican leader from Kentucky is a well-known architect of complicated legislative maneuvers. One question is whether he would allow a broader immigration debate with amendments to Trump’s plan on the Senate floor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.