Trump’s US shutdown longest in history

US shutdown is the longest in its history
US shutdown is the longest in its history

The partial shutdown of the US government has become the longest on record, with still no end in sight to the political standoff.

On Saturday it reaches its 22nd day, overtaking the previous record – the 21-day shutdown in 1995-96 under then-President Bill Clinton.

President Donald Trump is refusing to approve a budget unless it includes funds for a wall on the Mexican border.

Democrats have rejected his request for $5.7bn (£4.5bn).

About a quarter of the federal government is still out of operation until a spending plan is agreed, leaving 800,000 employees unpaid.

On Friday, those workers – including prison guards, airport staff and FBI agents – missed their first salaries of the year.

Meanwhile, President Trump has calmed speculation that he is about to declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and get the money he needs. His proposed border wall was a key election pledge.

He described an emergency declaration as an “easy way out” and said he would prefer Congress to resolve the problem.

But he added: “If they can’t do it… I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right.”

Correspondents say Democrats would mount an immediate legal challenge if Mr Trump made such a move.

How have workers reacted?

On Friday, some workers who missed their first payday of the year shared their blank payslips on social media.

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Oscar Murillo, an aerospace engineer at Nasa, posted his $0 cheque on Twitter and said he had actually lost money because of mandatory deductions.

Another Twitter user, Cat Heifner, shared what she said was her brother’s payslip, showing he had been paid one cent for his work as an air traffic controller.

A food bank in Washington DC is arranging five pop-up markets on Saturday for unpaid federal workers.

Radha Muthiah, head of Capital Area Food Bank, said dozens of volunteers were working to pack bags of food for affected staff.

Meanwhile, the classified advertising website Craigslist has been inundated with listings from government employees trying to sell their possessions.

Items ranging from beds to old toys have been listed as “government shutdown specials”.

“Sells for $93.88 at Walmart. Asking $10,” one advert for a child’s rocking chair reads. “We need money to pay bills.”

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