Government shutdown drags into third week

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With Democrats and Republicans refusing to budge on border security and the budget, the partial government shutdown on Saturday entered the third week of what could be a very long standoff.

When it reaches 16 days on Sunday, the shutdown will be tied as the third longest in history. And with Congress out of session until Tuesday, it’s poised to secure second place on that list—at least.

“Not much headway made today,” President Trump tweeted Saturday evening. “After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!”

Trump’s three designated negotiators—Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law—met with Democratic congressional staffers for two hours Saturday without making substantial progress, a Pence aide said.

Trump has refused to sign a budget unless it includes about $5.6 billion for a border wall, a condition the Dems reject.

That’s left nine cabinet-level departments and numerous agencies without the cash to keep functioning—and a growing list of problems.

If the Internal Revenue Service, for one, remains closed for business, taxpayers won’t get their expected refunds, according to report. Refunds typically begin flowing to early filers in the last week of January.

Food-stamp programs will run out of funds in mid-February, the Washington Post reported, meaning severe restrictions on aid to low-income Americans.

And at national parks, which are sparsely staffed during the partial government shutdown, three visitors have died.

They include a hiker who suffered a head injury in California’s Yosemite National Park on Dec. 25, the National Park Service said Friday. Several popular trails were closed as a result.

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